Wordsworth and Billy Collins

William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770, reminds The Writer’s Almanac. He died on April 23, 1850. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) also died on April 23 —and that’s also believed to be his birthday. The philosopher Bertrand Russell summed up Wordsworth’s career this way:

In his youth, Wordsworth sympathized with the French Revolution, went to France, wrote good poetry, and had a natural daughter. At this period he was called a “bad’ man”. Then he became “good”‘ abandoned his daughter, adopted correct principles, and wrote bad poetry.

Here’s the full entry from The Writer’s Almanac presented by Garrison Keillor. The page has an amusing poem by Billy Collins: What She Said.

When he told me he expected me to pay for dinner,
I was like give me a break.

Those are the first two lines. The poem describes how the woman’s lost for words when her dinner date expects her to pick up the tab at the restaurant.

Garrison Keillor must have enjoyed presenting a Billy Collins poem on Wordsworth’s birthday. Collins was the American poet laureate from 2001 to 2003. Wordsworth was appointed poet laureate by Queen Victoria in 1843, when he was 73. He died seven years later.

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