Celebrations and a poetry contest for two centuries of Daffodils

Plans are under way to celebrate a literary landmark in the Lake District next spring.

April sees the 200th anniversary of the publication of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, arguably the most famous poem in the English-speaking world.

Rydal Mount, the house where Wordsworth lived when he published the definitive version of the poem, will be the focus of a number of events to mark the occasion. There will be a special theme for the annual Wordsworth prize for young poets, open to all schoolchildren in Cumbria. And there will be a literary lunch at the Old Stamp House restaurant in Ambleside, the building where Wordsworth was working as a civil servant back in 1815.

The curators of Rydal Mount, Peter and Marian Elkington, will also host an anniversary celebration at the house.

“The poem is loved throughout the world,” said Peter Elkington. “Our overseas visitors, particularly from Japan and America, know it off by heart. They love the English Romantic poets.”

Rydal Mount was presented recently by a decorative scroll, more than two metres long, inscribed with Daffodils written in Chinese calligraphy and brought to the Lakes by a lecturer at Shandong Jiaotong University in Jinan.

The poetry competition for young people will be launched in the new year but all schools in Cumbria are being alerted to prepare their young writers. The poems this time will be on the theme: “I wandered….”

Last year’s winner was 15 year old Heidi Ostell, a pupil at Trinity High School in Carlisle. Her poem, Leviathan of the Forest,  was judged to be the best from more than 100 entries from school pupils across Cumbria by descendants of the poet William Wordsworth.

At the award ceremony at Rydal Mount near Ambleside, which was the poet’s home for most of his life, his great-great-great-great-grandson Christopher Wordsworth presented Heidi with a trophy and a £50 cash prize.

Her name is now the first on a plaque which will be permanently displayed at Rydal Mount as the poetry contest becomes an annual event. And her poem has been framed and hung on the wall for visitors to read.


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