Intern for the Wordsworth Trust
Give a brief description of your internship.
At the Wordsworth Trust, I was able to give tours of Dove Cottage to tourists, guide people around the museum full of Wordsworth artifacts, work on research projects in the Jerwood Centre, help out at special events for the Trust like exhibit openings, attend sections of the annual Wordsworth Conference, and be apart of an event for the centenary of World War I. I was also able to help the head curator, Jeff Cowton, curate and create a gallery for a WWI exhibit coming this November and create a guide for future BYU interns coming to the Trust.
What was your most memorable experience?
The Trust hosted an event at the Jerwood Centre, where a local history group and the glee club read letters, recited poetry, and sang songs from the time period. Then, for attendees of the annual Wordsworth conference, we opened up the Cottage and only had candles lit inside, reenacting what it would have looked like during Wordsworth’s day. Then, at eleven o’clock, we put out all the lights in the Cottage, museum, and residential houses as part of a nationwide blackout to commemorate those who lost their lives in the war. It was surreal and wonderful just being there on this historic occasion, and I felt privileged to be apart of it.
Was there a specific person you remember in regards to your internship?
The Trust occasionally puts on contemporary poetry readings, and I had the chance to attend one for Tom Pickard, a famous British poet. His reading was extremely entertaining. He had long hair that fell down to his shoulders and was wearing a white pirate shirt. He swore like a sailor and made profanity sound like an art form. He also had a glass of wine in his hand the whole time and fit the northern English persona perfectly. He actually made one of my coworkers, Kirsty, a bit homesick because they’re both from Newcastle. I got the chance to meet him and have him sign a collection of his poetry. I guess I remember him the most because he was such a character. You know, the kind of person you meet in passing but could never possibly forget.
What was the strangest thing that happened during your internship?
This one time, I went into the village after work and ran into Kelsey Allen, one of my old co-workers from Writing Fellows. She was taking a tour of England before starting a summer creative writing program at Oxford. It was just strange seeing someone I knew in a place as remote and far-away as Grasmere.
If you ate anything crazy, what was it?
A full English breakfast with eggs, sausage, baked beans, bacon, toast, fried tomatoes, and an eggplant. Britons do eat hearty when they want to.
What do you think was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?
Probably giving tours of Dove Cottage. It was difficult learning all the material for each room and knowing how to alter the tour to fit the needs of each group. But I enjoyed this part of the job the most because I was able to see the impact it had on other people. I don’t know, I just really liked telling people about Wordsworth, Coleridge, de Quincey, and the other Romantics who are tied to the house. Also, people were always intrigued by the fact that an American like me was working there, especially one from Las Vegas.
What do you wish every future intern would know or do?
Pack light, bring good hiking shoes, and don’t forget an umbrella. And, if you have time, read lots of Wordsworth.
Any last thoughts?
In all, I’ll never forget my experience with the Wordsworth Trust. It was one of those life events that will continue to have an impact on me for years to come. I hope that I get the chance to go back someday, either on holiday or for a future job. In fact, I actually wouldn’t mind working there again if I ever got the chance.