I first met and fell in love with Coleridge and Shelley while at university. Not one text I’d studied before then had failed to engage and fascinate - but it wasn’t until I discovered Romanticism that I realised I’d discovered my literary twin-soul.
Romanticism! Always with a capital ‘R’ and never to be confused with romantic (with a small ‘r’) though romantic love at its most passionate, tender and anguish-ridden is certainly an essential experience within the Romantic literary movement. With passion at the latter’s heart, it cannot not be. But Romanticism is as vast as the sublime landscapes - both external and of the mind - that it paints, and I felt every shimmer, every tremble; the full sweep of its light and the voluptuousness of its music in complete and glorious unison.
For those not familiar with Romanticism, any good dictionary of literary terms should enlighten you (despite a complete definition being elusive); for now, the following gives a flavour of its seductive lure: the abandonment of the rational in favour of the intuitive; the passionate, intimate relationship with nature and the eternal mirror between nature and the psychology of humankind; the anguished pursuit of the imagination; the yearning for something ‘beyond’ and the ever-present sense of unity in diversity.
However, Coleridge and Shelley, for me, embraced and captured Romantic concerns more skilfully,
more consistently and more exquisitely than any other Romantic poet and thus it is that we walk together, hand-in-hand, from the 18th century to the 21st.
My poetry challenges false and unnecessary boundaries through a considerable use of sensuous and synaesthetic imagery (like theirs) and a frequent use of enjambment. It is very musical both in ideas and in sound; I make frequent use of all forms of rhyme in my poetry: end-rhyme, half-rhyme, internal rhyme, feminine and masculine rhyme and several other devices all chime along. Echoes, whispers, ripples and memories flit like ghosts throughout and nature is prominent. So is love and so are questions, which thread their way unbidden throughout my work. Imagination, I hope, is a frequent and welcome visitor, permitted to wander with considerable (but not entirely unbounded) freedom over all my poetic landscapes, painting the lyrical, the mystical and the spiritual. Form is more slave than master (I like to experiment) while rhythm, even in free verse, is queen and her commands simply must be obeyed. And my Muse? She visits from time to time and whispers in my ear … but hers is not to guide my hand to every elfin word - the last of which I shall give to Shelley: