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On the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth, born on 7th April 1770 (exactly 250 years to the day of the stamp issue), Royal Mail celebrate the renowned poet and Romantic poetry with a set of tenstamps. William Wordsworth is regarded as having launched the ‘Romantic era’ of British poetry, was Poet Laureate and remains one of the UK’s most popular poets.

The word ‘romantic’ has a much wider meaning than ‘love’ to define the poets of the late 18th and early19th centuries. In an era of huge social changes, the Romantic poets reacted against the order and rationalism of the preceding (Enlightenment) era, and highlighted the importance of expressing real personal feelings. They had a sense of responsibility to society: they felt it was their duty to use their poetry to inform and inspire others, and even to change society.

Wordsworth was concerned about the elitism of earlier poets, their highbrow language and subject matter which was not accessible to ordinary people. He maintained that poetry should be democratic; that itshould be composed in ‘the language really spoken by men’ and he launched his ideas when he, with Coleridge, published their Lyrical Ballads (1798).

Each of the ten stamps will feature the work of the key Romantic poets – John Clare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Blake, Sir Walter Scott, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, and two female poets – Mary Robinson and Letiticia Landon, who in their time were extremely popular, and among the first women to support themselves solely by writing.

The target thematic audience for these stamps are those who have a keen or passing interest in literature, poetry, creative writing and specifically Romanticism, as well as admirers of Wordsworth and fellow writers / poets. Members or followers of the Wordsworth trust and the Tate, which has a William Blake exhibition ending in February. Wordsworth’s childhood home is a National Trust property and it’sworth noting that the founders of National Trust were all committed Wordsworthians and is also celebrating his 250th birthday with a new exhibition & events throughout 2020.

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