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This article is taken from PN Review 14, Volume 6 Number 6, July - August 1980.

Brian Oxley

The revolution in Wordsworth's life occurred when he returned home from France and committed himself to talking to the strangers he met on his walks:


                      When I began to enquire,
To watch and question those I met, and speak
Without reserve to them, the lonely roads
Were open schools.


When I first met David Wright I didn't appreciate the significance of his gift for an ideally democratic or Christian colloquy. We must have first met at a stand-up-and-chat academic sherry party to mark his commencement as Gregory Fellow in Poetry at Leeds University, a post he filled admirably from 1965 to 1967. The context swiftly changed to the tarnished grandeur of a Smoke Room of the Fenton Public House on Woodhouse Lane where all who were interested in poetry were welcome to a combination of critical seminar and convivial fellowship, meeting regularly on Wednesday nights. The choice of pub seemed odd. Though near the University it was decidedly "rough" and few people from the University ventured in. There were advantages in this, but I realize now that, like the Soho pubs of an earlier period of his life, it was equivalent to the public roads that were Wordsworth's open schools. An enemy of cliques and in-groups, not only was David careful to draw in any lost sheep straying on the fringes of a conversation, but also welcomed discussion with the pub's regulars, with whom 1 for one was ...


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