How apt that this year is a milestone for the poet Wordsworth. It is the 250th anniversary of his birth. Since then, he has been hailed as a pioneering ecologist and is a trailblazer for lovers of nature and country life. Jonathan Bate’s new book on him is even called Radical Wordsworth, claiming that he changed the world. I doubt that, especially having read it.
He is, however, a perfect poet for times of social distancing. He lived in a social bubble with his sister, then also with his wife and children. He self-isolated on long walks in wild, remote landscapes. He seldom broke the six-person limit during his early to middle years. In this voluntary lockdown, he produced most of his greatest poetry.
His poetry on natural landscape and his changing relationship to it too are masterpieces, from “Tintern Abbey” to the unsurpassed “Prelude”. Yet he grew to