Corporation appoints poet in residence at Keats House


Nearly 200 years since the death of John Keats a new poet in residence will take up his pen and compose verse at his home.

Anthony Hett will visit the house where John Keats wrote some of his most famous verses, including Ode to a Nightingale, throughout the summer.

His weekly visits are designed to inspire him as he prepares to follow in John Keats’ footsteps and produce his first volume of poetry. He is also keen to meet other aspiring writers at drop in sessions at the house in Hampstead, which is now run as a museum by the City of London Corporation.

The next session is scheduled for 12 July, and Mr Hewitt wants guests to bring photos with them to help inspire their work, alongside images of the poet, who died in Rome in 1821.

Poems will be performed at a special event in September. Mr Hett said his residency at the house where Keats – who gave up his medical studies for poetry – lived “will give me the time and space to focus solely on writing a collection of poetry and, ultimately, help me to grow and develop as a writer.”

In May the museum, which was known as Wentworth House when Keats lived there, hosted the original manuscript of Ode to a Nightingale.

The original workings of the poem are usually kept at the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University. The rare showing at the house where it was written attracted fans of the poet en masse.

The events are part of the Keats 200 celebrations, which started last autumn and will continue right through to the bicentenary of the poet’s death from tuberculosis aged 25.