Poem introduction

This passage from Wordsworth's long autobiographical poem The Prelude, is musically brilliant. It's like a piece by Stravinsky or Ravell, in which all the instruments of the orchestra are used. Every colour of consonant, length and weight of vowel, accent pattern and variation of polysyllable and monosyllable, is used to create in sound the experience Wordsworth is describing. This is poetry – sound and sense together, a language that is completely alive. And how simple the materials are, how impossibly evocative the single adjective 'orange' is, in the phrase 'the orange sky of evening'.

Take a tour

Mark Grist's tour

Over the years I’ve become increasingly interested in the lyrical nature of poetry. I find that the more I’ve taken in...

Take Mark Grist's tour >