Segments in this Video

British Landscape Poetry (01:16)


Owen Sheers reflects on poetic inspiration from the English countryside and shares his own work.

Wordsworth in London (00:44)

Although known for his Lake District work, William Wordsworth also appreciated the urban landscape.

"Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" (03:12)

Hear Wordsworth's sonnet written in London on September 3, 1802 and learn how it resonates with contemporary Londoners.

Wordsworth's Lake District (02:59)

Learn the importance of landscape to the English Romantic poet. After wandering throughout Europe, he returned home and purchased a cottage in 1800—where he composed his masterworks.

"A Double Wash Stand" (02:54)

Learn about Wordsworth's relationship with his sister Dorothy. Dove Cottage's poet in residence Adam O'Riordan shares his work, inspired by their artistic legacy.

Wordsworth's Women (02:25)

The poet courted Mary Hutchinson, who joined him and Dorothy at Dove Cottage. Learn about his relationship to Annette Vallon and journey to meet her before marrying.

London Inspiration (03:12)

Hear Dorothy's account of the Thames on their journey to meet Annette in Calais. London residents recite Wordsworth's "Composed on Westminster Bridge."

Analyzing Wordsworth (02:43)

Sheers discusses how the sonnet’s concise construction captures Westminster Bridge imagery. Poet Simon Armitage points out references to nature in the apparent London homage.

Wordsworth in Calais (01:35)

Learn about the poet's journey to meet Annette and his daughter Caroline. Hear Dorothy's account of the month long beach holiday.

"It is a Beauteous Evening" (01:55)

Inspired by Milton, Wordsworth composed 13 sonnets in Calais. Sheers discusses one referencing a walk on the beach with Caroline.

Revolutionizing the Urban Landscape (02:10)

Learn how Wordsworth's 1802 London poems provide a context for "Composed on Westminster Bridge." He challenged traditional notions of beauty in his homage to the city.

"A Vision" (01:24)

Simon Armitage reads his work "A Vision" about contemporary London.

"Westminster Bridge" Legacy (02:01)

Although Wordsworth’s feelings towards Annette and Caroline are unknown, his journey through London in 1802 produced a great urban poem by a natural poet—resonating among readers today.

Credits: On Westminster Bridge: William Wordsworth–Poet's Guide to Britain (00:38)

Credits: On Westminster Bridge: William Wordsworth–Poet's Guide to Britain

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On Westminster Bridge: William Wordsworth–Poet's Guide to Britain

Part of the Series : Poet's Guide to Britain
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Wordsworth’s great sonnet is a celebration of the beauty of London at dawn. This film explores exactly how the poem came about at this crucial turning point in Wordsworth’s life. Owen Sheers looks at how the apparently simple poem is built and explores how Wordsworth’s admiration of Milton’s sonnets encouraged him to adopt the form for his 1802 London sonnets. He also examines how other poets characterized London in the early nineteenth century before turning to contemporary poets, including Patience Agbabi and Tobias Hill, to discuss 21st century visions of London and to hear work inspired by Wordsworth. (29 minutes)

Length: 30 minutes

Item#: BVL56763

ISBN: 978-0-81609-171-3

Copyright date: ©2009

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

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