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Norman Nicholson: Poet and True Cumbrian

Oct 18 2018, 2:48 AM

William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome, John Ruskin, Melvyn Bragg, Sarah Hall.... all literary names which have been associated with Cumbria over the last 200 years. One name you may not have heard of though (if you live outside the county) is Norman Nicholson.

Born in a terraced house in Millom on 8 January 1914, Nicholson was a poet who embraced his own culture completely. He lived almost the whole of his life in the same house and wrote extensively about the people, their work, the landscape - and how they are intertwined to the extent that each becomes part of the other.

A Christian - with deep ethical values - he was a supporter of those who work and the value that good honest work brings to a person’s soul.

In addition to poetry Nicholson wrote novels, biographies, memoirs and books about the land he loved so much. In particular, Portrait of the Lakes and The Lakers are well worth reading for anyone wanting to get an insider’s view of Cumbria. In brief, the former concerns place whilst the latter is about people.

However, it is his poetry for which he is perhaps most celebrated: writing in the voice of the people around him, Nicholson’s words are as lyrical when describing iron ore mining as they are when painting a picture of minute details of the landscape.

There is a thriving Norman Nicholson Society where you can find out more, attend local lectures and, in particular, the centenary events which are taking place this year. In addition, you could do worse this weekend than get down to your local bookshop and buy a copy of one of Nicholson’s books!

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And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils

William Wordsworth »