Guest Post: Life-writing and poetry at the Dorothy Wordsworth Festival of Women’s Poetry

Here I am blogging for OxLifeWriting about the overlaps between poetry and auto/biography at the Dorothy Wordsworth Festival of Women’s Poetry.

Hello life-writers! Over the next three weeks we’ll have a series of three guest posts from Esther Rutter, who works for the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere. In each of her posts Esther reviews an event from the Dorothy Wordsworth Festival of Women’s Poetry and muses on the intersections between life-writing and poetry.

Part I: What to do about Dorothy’s Journal 

Incest. Plagiarism. Exploitation. Any biographer of William and/or Dorothy Wordsworth is immediately faced with the challenge of these three hugely controversial matters when talking about the nature of the relationship between these two remarkable siblings. At the Dorothy Wordsworth Festival of Women’s Poetry two Wordsworthian heavyweights, Professor Lucy Newlyn and Dr Pamela Woof, both of whom have published biographers of Dorothy Wordsworth in the last year, tackled these fascinating and thorny issues.

First, what to make of the charges of plagiarism and exploitation? The title of the festival is a nod…

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