And Why You Should Too!
Being a creative writer and aspiring poet means constantly searching for sources of wonderful inspiration. Whether you are out walking with a friend, or you simply drive by something stunning that catches your eye and gets the creative juices flowing, us writers live for that momentary spark of genius. New Hampshire, at first thought, may not seem like a haven for inspirational and thought provoking literary pieces. It is, for the most part a few cities amongst rolling hills and lush rural forest landscapes. But without a doubt, it is a place the British Romantic Poets would have scribbled away about, had they only managed a chance to explore New Hampshire! Here are some reasons why.
Who were the Romantic Poets
Before unveiling the secrets of literary inspiration found in New Hampshire, a quick reminder is due regarding the Romantic Poets. For writers who aren’t extremely familiar with who they were and their works (like myself until rather recently) the Romantic Poets were a group of writers who sought to bring ideas like nature and the supernatural to their readers during a time of urban dominance and the Industrial Revolution. If you’d like to freshen up on their texts, some of the greats were John Keats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Shelley, and the infamous Lord Byron.
So why would these guys absolutely love New Hampshire? Well that’s easy enough to answer. They were obsessed with wonderful landscapes, old architecture, changing seasons, and generally tried to captivate their reader’s imaginations by introducing them to aspects of nature they may not be entirely familiar with. So, if you want to write like a Romantic Poet and find some inspiration in places these guys would have loved, keep a notepad handy and explore the following.
The ocean and beaches captivate everyone’s imagination and is a wonderful place to gain inspiration. Many of my own poems are written about the shore lines, the crashing waves, the shimmering sand, how it feels in your toes when you walk along it with a loved one. There are so many images that come to mind when one thinks of the beaches of New Hampshire. Once a year, at the very least, I will find myself driving up Route 1A through Rye and into Portsmouth. The beautiful old mansions along the water are a sight to behold and the lack of tourists obstructing the wonderful ocean views will surely make a poet want to write, as they breathe that fresh ocean side air. Once you reach Portsmouth there are a multitude of fun activities to enjoy and a walk by the anchored tug boats is rather pleasant as well.
The Old Man on the Mountain may be eroding away but that doesn’t retract from how beautiful the scenery is in the mountains of our state. The great thing about the Appalachians is they are a sight to see any time of the year. Whether it is skiing in the Winter, foliage viewing in the Fall, or hiking in the Spring and Summer, the mountains and trails hold truly breath-taking views. Hiking your way up and peering at the wonderful green world below you is quite beholding. It truly and absolutely fills the writer with perspective. There are plenty of waterfalls, rivers, and gorges to be discovered if you take a trip to the White Mountains and many of these natural beauties deserve to have sonnets written in their honor!
I could write stanzas about the apple and pumpkin orchards of New Hampshire, especially during the fall, and in fact I have as the fall is possibly my most favorite time of year to whip up poetic inspiration. I make it a necessity to go apple and pumpkin picking every year and as I walk down the countless rows of apple trees and look for that perfect orange colored pumpkin to pick, I cannot help but feel inspired.
The sights, the sounds, the smells, I feel like this natural experience alone could trigger every one of our human senses and because of this New Hampshire has some moments that truly inspire Romantic Poetry. I hope someone will find the inspiration this coming Fall to craft a master piece to rival Keats’ famous “To Autumn.” If you need some tips, Londonderry and Derry have some amazing places, so check them out.
The Mill Towns
Mill towns are more well known in Massachusetts (I apologize for even mentioning them!) but New Hampshire has a couple fine master pieces of its own if one wants to explore the historical and architectural aspects of Romantic Writing. The Romantics loved discussing, alluding to, and exploring the ideas of the Medieval and Hellenistic world. I think in our modern era it is okay to say that the mill towns captivate a lot of our own American History and that of New England and of course New Hampshire.
The mill buildings of the textile manufacturing world are long renovated and have other uses now, however some of them still stand amongst our cities. Being a resident of Manchester I drive by them nearly every day and am happy they still stand tall and proud in our city. They aren’t quite the Gothic Cathedrals of Europe, but they still manage to portray that rustic, classic look, viewers of historical architecture seem to admire. They stand out distinctly amongst our modern buildings and have a very unique feel about them.
If you happen to be the type of writer who is inspired greatly by the visuals of engineering and buildings, and you want some historical inspiration for your Romantic writings then there are a couple of cities with that early 19th century feel you should explore. Portsmouth, Manchester, Nashua, Exeter, Dover, and Concord all have some beautiful river and water front areas that will captivate the imagination just right.
So get exploring and get writing
New Hampshire has been a wonderful source of inspiration for poetry and writing in the past. Most of us are familiar with Robert Frost and some of his works. But there is no reason to let great New Hampshire Romantic poetry fall into the past. New Hampshire contains scenic views and cities that would have made the British Writers envious and I’m sure inspired them to wonderful writings had they ever made it to our shores. So, with that in mind I hope you will keep a pen and notepad handy this year while exploring New Hampshire and give our state a little of the Romantic touch.
Timothy Svenson is currently a Manchester resident of five years. He is an ongoing working professional in the Manchester and NH area as well as a recently re-enrolled college student. He has a degree in Psychology and is currently working towards a degree in English. He loves writing. He is always up to the task of involving himself in new writing activities, learning interesting styles, and generally exploring the wonderful world writing and literature have to offer us. He’s a poetry enthusiast, as well as an aspiring novelist, and short story writer. He has recently begun the endeavor of blog writing and hopes to use this social outlet as an expression of his own writing, and to come across like-minded literary scholars.