Poetry Portfolio CHAPTERS, (Achievements)


In 1793, Wordsworth published his first two books of verse, An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches. Each was a longish poem in heroic couplets, the dominant English verse form of the eighteenth century. Essentially backward-looking in style and sensibility, they were false starts for a radical thinker who would soon also be the most revolutionary poet of the time.


He met Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a twenty-two-year-old fellow poet and radical, who already knew and admired Wordsworth\'s poetry. Coleridge passed on to Wordsworth his enthusiasm for the associations philosophy of David Hartley, which held that the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual elements of human nature are formed by our earliest sense impressions, that character is a function of environment. Together they published anonymously "Lyrical Ballads" in 1978. It contained "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and 3 other poems by Coleridge.

Wordsworth\'s importance as an innovator is enormous. As would his modernist heirs a century later, he appeared at a time of outworn traditions and exhausted conventions, and refreshed the current of poetry by reminding his contemporaries of its need to renew itself in both content and manner of expression. His radical experiments in poetic simplicity remain more important for the theories behind them than for their actual poetic accomplishment, but the best of the works that he produced in the years immediately after Lyrical Ballads, few though they may be in the vast bulk of his collected poetry, ensure him a permanent place not only in literary history but in the hearts of all who value the highest artistic achievements that humanity is capable of.