Two-hundred years ago, when William Wordsworth published the poem that begins with the line quoted above, critics were not impressed. In fact, they ridiculed him for using the words “of the common man” instead of using a scholar’s proper poetic diction. Wordsworth sparked a revolution. It took many years, but it eventually became widely accepted that accessible poetry can be great poetry. In 1950, the critic who wrote the introduction to this selection of poetry noted that we “more than ever” benefit from Wordsworth’s work. Fast-forward 67 years: Could it be even more relevant than ever before? Perhaps so!
Wordsworth, William. “The World Is Too Much with Us.” William Wordsworth: Selected Poetry edited, with an introduction, by Mark Van Doren. The Modern Library, 1950, p. 536.