A writer immerses himself in the English countryside where, in the late 1790s, William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge lived, collaborated, and wrote the poems that would usher in the era of British Romantic poetry, produced by the particular region and its inhabitants and visitors as much as by the poets themselves.
Adam Nicolson’s The Making of Poetry is a glowingly—one might almost say throbbingly—detailed account ... Nicolson goes at it in sensorially saturated, theta-wave prose, sinking the reader into the aliveness of his descriptions ... By befriending both of these poets, by living and being with them in a remarkably sustained act of imaginative immersion, by allowing their ideas and their environment to mingle in him so profoundly...Nicolson...has opened the door.
Nicolson is himself a sublime and word-intoxicated nature writer ... This is a book of wonders. The 46 woodcuts by the artist Tom Hammick, vividly elemental studies of trees, skies, horses, pathways, homes and figures in landscapes, in glowing poster-paint colours, are a treat. 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.
... dazzling ... Before I read this book I was something of a Wordswortho-sceptic. But Nicolson is one of the most persuasive advocates of his genius I have read. The Making of Poetry brings the poetry to life, but also the countryside—Nicolson spent a lot of time living around Stowey to write this book and it has paid off brilliantly. He is helped along by Tom Hammick’s beautiful illustrations; charmingly some of the woodcuts are made with wood gathered from the garden at Alfoxden.