Keats In Hampstead/Poet’s House To Be Saved By Celebrities? Poetry News Roundup January 12th

Today’s poetry news roundup looks at the poet Keats on the anniversary of the bicentenary of his death and the poet’s house looking at celebrities to save it.

Keats in Hampstead

This year marks the bicentenary of the death of the poet John Keats. Keats died on February 23 at the age of just 25. He had been writing poetry for just six years, yet he remains one of the most important voices of the Romantic movement and a poet whose work is still important today.

A 1995 survey which looked for the nations favourite poems placed Keats in the top 10 twice, the only poet to manage this. The first place went to “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

Whilst Keats’ history places him in numerous areas of London and in Rome where he died, he lived in Hampstead for almost three years and the area has important associations with the poet.

Keats was a medical student, beginning his studies in 1815 and ending them in 1817, when he realised that poetry was where his heart lay. It was once he had made this commitment to poetry and realising that the damp room in Southwark he was living in was likely the reason for his many colds, that he moved to Hampstead. It was from this new base that he wrote much of his poetry. His early works were also published by a local company and he was closer to other prominent figures he admired, like the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge with whom he walked on the heath and discussed poetry.

In 1818, Keats moved to Wentworth Palace, now known as Keats House.  During his time here he penned five of his six most well-known odes. It was from Wentworth Place that the poet travelled to Italy on the advice of his doctors when his health deteriorated.

Local historians are looking at the poet’s links to the area this year with consideration to any events that might be planned to take place in remembering him.

Stars Asked to Buy Former London Home of Poets

At the end of last year, we brought you an article about the former London home of the poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud. Now campaigners are asking the French government, Bob Dylan and Boy George to purchase the property, which has been put up for sale by the owner for £1.75 million.

Gerry Harrison, who is running the campaign says that he approached the French government because to them the poets are the equivalent of John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley to Britain.

He has also reached out to several celebrities including Bob Dylan. Dylan has been approached because he has often referred to Rimbaud as inspiring him; also, Harrison says he isn’t short of money.

The current owner of the house had previously suggested that he would be bequeathing the house to the Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation through a codicil in his will. The Foundation was, in fact, specifically set up to take ownership of the house, which they hoped to turn in to a poetry house.

Whilst the Foundation accept that people are entitled to change their minds, they are disappointed that after 10 years of believing the property would be there, that the owner has put it up for sale.

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