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The Making of Poetry


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About the Author

Adam Nicolson is the author of many books on history, travel, and the environment. He is the winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the British Topography Prize, and lives at Sissinghust Castle in Kent.


Named a Best Book of 2019 by The Guardian and The Sunday Times"[A] sublime, densely textured study . . . This is a book of wonders . . . Nicolson's prose swoops and sings all over the landscape; his poets' embeddings in nature and interconnections of thought are richly evoked, and his enjoyment of their (and his) journey into understanding is utterly infectious. Wordsworth and Coleridge, were they able to read his fabulous tribute in some Parnassian glade, would surely tip their hats to a kindred spirit." --John Walsh, The Times (London)"[A] spellbinding recreation of the making of Romantic poetry amid the Somerset Quantock Hills . . . The Making of Poetry is an excitingly new kind of literary book, one which artfully combines illustrations (the bright and powerful woodcut images by Tom Hammick offer haunting correspondences to Nicolson's imaginative prose) with a naturalist's approach to biography. The result, hard-earned in arduous daily walks through difficult terrain, often in savage weather, enables the writer to evoke as never before the regular pilgrimages of Wordsworth, Coleridge and their companions . . . one of the most imaginative and luminously intelligent books about poetry I have read." --Miranda Seymour, Financial Times"Nicolson, in the footsteps of Wordsworth, comes with his own Coleridge, the prodigiously gifted and colourful artist Tom Hammick, whose dreamy woodcuts and paintings are scattered through the narrative . . . poetry and place are perfectly braided together in prose whose biographical mood pays tribute to Richard Holmes and whose topographical fervour evokes Robert Macfarlane." --Robert McCrum, The Guardian"[A] captivating book . . . intensely moving and thrilling. There are meditations on dusk, rain, wind, the exciting darkness and strangeness of "winter power"; there are wonderful words like 'rhyne', 'laminar' and 'haulms' and brilliant readings of the poems, the lives and the temperaments of the two poets, feeling the spiritual ley lines running between our time and theirs." --Claire Harman, Evening Standard"Just as a Method actor immerses himself wholly in a role . . . to bring authenticity to his characters, Nicolson became something of a 'Method poet' to write this book . . . he absorbed the landscape that had embraced Coleridge and Wordsworth as if they were accompanying him, their eyes guiding his seeing . . . His beguiling language re-activates the spell of enchantment that compelled the Lake poets so long ago." --Liesl Schillinger, Air Mail"A fabulous book! Passionate, original, intensely personal, and thrillingly observant. Adam Nicolson has achieved a total immersion in the Romantic poets' world, and I can't think of any other study quite like it. It will have terrific impact. The combination of Nicolson's fine nature writing through all the seasons, with his revealing use of local sources, and his own exquisite/patient close reading of the poets' notebooks is completely captivating. It is also truly moving. Above all, he is fascinating on the central relationship between Coleridge and Wordsworth, the dark depths and emerging complications of that friendship: the rivalries and creative tensions it always contained, and the final sense of Wordsworth striding on alone into the Wye Valley." --Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder

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