Friday, 30 January 2009

A-Z: US National Museum of Poets

I read on the USA Poetry Foundation blog that there is talk of a National Museum of Poets. One of my favourite holiday activities (when I am not out on a headland with binoculars) is visiting places associated with poets. Wordsworth's home, Rydal Mount in the Lake District, and the Cornish china clay pits of Jack Clemo are two locations that come to mind. If you were asked to select an alphabet of favourite UK poets from any era for a similar enterprise (one poet per letter in our case, if you can manage to restrict yourself), who would you include in your list? It is quite a tough exercise: I know - I tried it. My thanks to Matt of Polyolbion for trying it, too. You will find Matt's facinating list in the comments section: do take a look.


Matt Merritt said...

That's set me thinking. I reckon I'll struggle with X and Z!

Coastcard said...

I could exchange those for an extra allowance of H and T!

Matt Merritt said...

OK, here goes, but I’ve failed with U, V and X, and been a bit, err, creative on some others…

Armitage - Marsden (I've been birdwatching on the moors there, and it’s very pleasant.
Burns - Alloway.
Clare – Helpston (it’s a couple of miles down the road here)
Drayton – Polesworth (the original Mr Polyolbion)
Edward Thomas – Adlestrop (I have stopped for a look – there’s a station sign in a bus shelter)
Fenton – Repton (Auden was at school there too, plus it’s got an Anglo-Saxon crypt. And my old lecturer made a case for Beowulf having been written there)
Geoffrey Hill - The M5 (from that line in Mercian Hymns)
Housman – Wenlock Edge (glorious)
Ingelow – Boston (19th century poet who wrote about Lincolnshire. Not great poems, but a great county).
Jonson – Westminster (he lived there).
Kipling - Rudyard Reservoir (Staffordshire beauty spot – he was named after it).
Langland – The Malverns (I think Piers Plowman was written about this lovely part of the world)
Marvell – Hull (more good birding, at least)
Noyes - Isle of Wight (any reason to go there)
Owen – Craiglockhart
Patten – Liverpool
Queen Elizabeth I – Tilbury (she made her great speech there. And wrote the odd poem).
RS Thomas - Lleyn Pensinsula (more great birding)
Shakespeare – Stratford (inevitable)
Ted Hughes – Mytholmroyd (archetypal Hughes country)
Wordsworth – Grasmere (also inevitable)
Yoseloff – The River Tamar (because Tamar Yoseloff was the only poet beginning with Y I could think of!)
Zephaniah – Handsworth (Birmingham is very underrated).

I struggled on Z – I was going to have Zamuel Taylor Coleridge. Well that’s how they’d say it down there in Porlock, isn’t it?

Coastcard said...

This is amazing work, Matt! I only got as far as the poets, but some of their associated places were much in my mind ...

Betjeman - I always think of him at St Enodoc
Causley and Clemo (more Cornwall)
Evans, Christine (Bardsey Island)
Finch, Peter - Cardiff
Goodyer, Graves and Greenlaw
Hardy, R.S. Hawker (Cornwall again) & Herbert
Irving, Adam
Keats (London, my birthplace)
Lawrence, D.H.
Masefield (the sea, the sea), Motion
Norris, L.
Owen, Oswald
Quick, Henry (Zennor, Cornwall)
Ridler, Anne ('Zennor' is one of my all time favourites)
Seward, Anna 'the Swan of Lichfield' (her grave in the Cathedral)
Thomas x3, Tennyson
Underhill, Evelyn (metaphysical)
Vaughan (metaphysical, Wales)
Watkins Vernon (Gower), Wordsworth
Xanadu’s creator (Nether Stowey)
Y prydydd bychan [1222-1234]
Zephaniah, Benjamin