Devon, with its historic cities and breath-taking natural landscapes, has inspired the great and the good of the literary...
Today at Sykes Cottages, we are celebrating National Poetry Day. Poetry is a subject that can often divide opinions with most people claiming to either love or hate it. For some, it’s a way to express themselves on a level that they just can’t reach through prose and for others it’s somewhat of a mystery. National Poetry Day is a celebration of poetry in every form and an attempt to make it accessible to everyone, everywhere. It aims to encourage and inspire Britain to discuss, write about and read poetry, but most of all, enjoy it.
So in honour of National Poetry Day, we’ve decided to make our own contribution by taking a look at some of Britain’s best loved poets and their origins.
William Wordsworth, born in 1770, is one of the most influential poets of the Romantic era. His works include ‘The Prelude’, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ and a collaboration with fellow Romantic, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Lyrical Ballads’. Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, an ancient market town nestled on the borders of the Lake District National Park. Although of medieval origins, the town has a heavy Georgian influence with most of the town being rebuilt during this period. Cockermouth is steeped in history and is a charming place to visit with modern day attractions including Cockermouth Castle which dates back to the Norman era and Wordsworth House, which is the birthplace of Mr Wordsworth himself. This beautiful Georgian townhouse is presented as the Wordsworth family home and is a must see for any literature fan.
Robert Burns is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, writing poetry and folk songs that are still commonly known today. Favourites include the traditional Hogmanay song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘A Red, Red Rose’. Born in Ayrshire in 1759, Burns was characterised by fierce national pride, radicalism, spontaneity and sincerity. So proud are the Scottish of his legacy that they dedicate a day to him each year. Burns Night is normally held on the 25th January every year, on the day that Burns was born and celebrates his life and poetry. Revellers make toasts, eat and read Burns’ ‘Address to a Haggis’. Fans of the Bard of Ayrshire can visit the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in the Alloway countryside which houses a awe-inspiring collection of his life and works.
Ted Hughes has long been considered to be one of the greatest writers of his generation and was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998. Born in 1930, Hughes led a life marked by both genius and tragedy with some of his most famous works include ‘The Hawk in the Rain’ and ‘Birthday Letters’. As a child, Hughes lived in the rural Yorkshire town of Mytholmroyd, but moved to Mexborough, South Yorkshire a few years later. The harsh moor landscape of his childhood is reflected in his work, much of which is predominantly concerned with nature and the impact of man on his surroundings. Hughes’ early work in particular, is influenced by the wildlife he encountered as a child. If you’d like to experience the places and landscapes that inspired his work, you can visit the area around Mytholmroyd and immerse yourself into the life and times of one of Britain’s best poets. Hughes’ first wife, the American poet Sylvia Plath, is buried in nearby Hepponstall.
If you’ve been inspired to take a trip to discover the origins of Wordsworth, Burns, Hughes or any other British poet, why not book a self-catering cottage for the duration of your stay. After all, what could be better after a long day of exploring than heading back to your holiday cottage and relaxing in front of a roaring fire with the works of your favourite poet?