Wordsworth and WW1 – Poetry news Roundup October 16th

We start this week on My Poetic Side with two stories from the UK, the news that the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere is hoping to make improvements in time for the 250th Anniversary of Wordworth’s birth, and a story of three violins made to commemorate World War one poets.

Wordsworth Trust Plans Ahead

April 2020 will mark the 250th Anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth, the “bard” of the Lake District. In connection with the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Wordsworth Trust and Dove Cottage are planning a multi-million-pound project that will retell Wordsworth’s story.

The project named “Reimagining Wordsworth” plans to expand and modernise the existing Wordsworth Museum and make Dove Cottage, the house where it is said Wordsworth wrote some of his best poetry, more authentic. They hope to open a new sensory garden, a woodland trail and also improve all visitor access. To unlock the £4 million of Heritage funding, the trust need to raise a further £1 million from public donations before March 2018.

Not only is it hoped that the improvements to the attraction will bring in even more tourists but they will also be beneficial for the inhabitants of the nearby Grasmere village with a redesigned café and terrace also planned.

Dove Cottage attracts huge numbers of visitors every year, they are drawn to visit the place that inspired Wordsworth to write some of his most famous poetry such as Daffodils and The Prelude.

Three World War One Poets Reunited

On Friday 13th 2017 three violins made from the same branch of a Sycamore tree that grew in the grounds of Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, now Napier University, were played together for the first time.

The Violins were created by Steve Burnett using a branch from the tree that stands in the grounds of which was once the shell-shock treatment hospital where Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were treated together briefly during the war. The third violin of the trio was made in honour of Robert Graves, who briefly met both Owen and Sassoon during their time at the hospital.

Burnett made the first violin in 2014 in honour of Wilfred Owen, a poet he had long admired. This violin has been played by violinist and composer Thoren Ferguson at a number of commemoration events. In addition, the violin has been endorsed as an envoy of peace by the violinist and conductor Maxim Vengerov, who is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and the violinist Nigel Kennedy.

In 2017, to mark the centenary of Sassoon’s stay at the hospital Burnett began work on the second violin. This violin was completed in August, just in time to mark the centenary.  The Graves violin has only recently been completed and again marks a centenary, this time the meeting of Owen and Sassoon with Graves which took place in October 1917, this meeting took place at the Baberton Golf Club; the venue for Friday night’s violin recital.

Mr Burnett hopes that the violins will keep alive the memory of the sacrifices that the three men, together with a huge number of their generation made for the country.

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