Reprise: “Stepping Westward”, by Berta Lawrence

The hill country of West Somerset is famous for its association with the Romantic poets, Coleridge and Wordsworth, whose Lyrical Ballads (1798) emerged out of their experience of the area and revolutionised English poetry. It was 130 years later that a young teacher, Berta Lawrence, came to live in the same part of the county.

Over the next seventy years, inspired by its landscape and legends, she wrote a succession of books and novels. She also wrote poems, over fifty of which were published in a local journal. After her death, more than two hundred poems were discovered among her papers, some published, some in typescript, and some in hand-written drafts. Here for the first time Stepping Westward gathers up the best of these, critically edited by Tom Furniss. They show how the storied Somerset landscape and the natural cycle of its rural year continue to inspire and delight.

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