August 7, 2022

Stephen Fry joins online poetry reading to mark William Wordsworth’s 250th birthday


PERSONALITY ON TV Stephen Fry will join the descendants of William Wordsworth to read poetry online to mark the 250th anniversary of the poet’s birth.

The actor, presenter and comedian will participate in a celebration business hosted by Rydal Mount near Ambleside which will be open to everyone.

Anyone who loves Wordsworth is invited to register reading their favorite poem and upload it to a website launched to coincide with the poet’s 250th birthday on Tuesday, April 7.

The first three poems are now online, starting with Stephen Fry reading The World is Too Much with Us.

Fry has spoken in the past of his love of poetry and how it has helped him overcome his mental health issues.

He is followed by Susan Wordsworth Andrew (the poet’s great-great-great-granddaughter) reading Afterthought and Thea Aitchison (his great-great-great-great-granddaughter) reading My Heart Leaps Up.

The project is led by Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great-great-great-grandson of the poet whose family still owns the house in Rydal Mount where William has lived most of his life.

The house, which first opened to the public 50 years ago this week, is currently closed due to the health crisis.

The family had planned a series of events there – including the 80th birthday of Christopher’s mother, Susan – but decided that the celebrations should take place virtually.

Christopher said William’s poems were more relevant today than ever.

“He was a pioneer with his views on nature and the environment,” he said.

“We’re launching the first three poems today with celebrity reads, but we want to open this up for everyone to record their favorite poem and we’ll keep it on the site forever.”

The Wordsworth family has also postponed the annual Rydal Mount Youth Poetry Award ceremony.

Milestones-themed entries are currently being read and judged by family members and all participants will be invited to the awards ceremony later in the year.

The website is www.wordsworth250.com and contributions can be made by members of the public at [email protected]

Audio or video files can be submitted and can be taken on a mobile phone.

If the files are too large to be emailed, they can be sent to the same address using We Transfer.