Lines Left explores site-specific writing in caves, Claude glass and the dark. The project is being led by Holly Corfield Carr who is the Clarissa Luard Poet-in-Residence at the Wordsworth Trust from January to February 2017.

Holly will be visiting schools across Cumbria to deliver a range of workshops that teach young writers how to set up their own portable cavehow to take a Romantic selfie and how to make a mountain out of a poem.

During her residency, Holly will be writing her way into the dark by making new work on site and on foot, trying to pick up the loose ends of those ‘Lines’ William Wordsworth is supposed to have

‘[…] Left upon a Seat in a Yew-Tree,
which Stands Near the Lake of Esthwaite,
on a Desolate Part of the Shore,
Commanding a Beautiful Prospect’

or even

‘Written with a Slate Pencil Upon a Stone,
the Largest of a Heap Lying near a Deserted Quarry,
Upon One of the Islands at Rydal’

At the same time, Holly will be reading her way into the archives and collections at the Jerwood Centre, continuing her PhD research on site-specific writing practices.

You can follow Holly’s progress and get in touch if you have any ideas or questions.



alien clay

Years 5 + 6 at Newtown School in Carlisle and Old Hutton Primary School in Kendal joined me on a zig-zagging route through language to dig strange new poems out of stone. First, we used magnifying glasses and water to examine each rock, trying to get closer to a detail of its smell, texture or colour …

Bright Caverns

In Book 3 of The Prelude, Wordsworth describes a private, portable space located ‘within my mind’. He describes this interior space like a cave that he might ‘enter in at will’, finding there a bright store of thought. In the 2015 Jonathan Wordsworth Memorial Lecture given by Professor Frederick Burwick, this ‘dazzling cavern’ is identified as the …

Claude glass

In my first week in residence, I’ve been making these Claude glasses, small curved black mirrors which 18th-century poets would have bound like a pocket-book and take up into the fells. In a sonnet written in response to William Westall’s book of engavings, Views of the Caves near Ingleton, Gordale Scar, and Malham Cove, in Yorkshire, Wordsworth …


Throughout her residency at the Wordsworth Trust, Holly is visiting schools all across Cumbria – from Barrow to Carlisle, Whitehaven to Penrith – to explore caves, Claude glass, selfies and site-specific writing with young writers in Years 1 to 11.

CAVES is a collaboration in building our own portable, private space through imaginative writing. After our eyes have adjusted to the light, we set off looking for pareidolic patterns in Wordsworth’s ‘A Night Piece’ to see what happens to language in the dark. We listen closely and we listen to nothing at all. We work on building up ideas and resources so that we can, like Wordsworth, return to our ‘bright cavern’ whenever we need to.

In MAKING A SCENE we will take a good look at ourselves in the landscape using a Claude glass, just as an 18th-century landscape painter would have done, alongside a selection of frames, lenses and colourful Perspex viewfinders which have been designed for the workshop by the poet to help students build the structure of their poem from a single scene.

CAIRNS is an engaging, hands-on introduction to the geology of the Lakes. Using magnifying glasses and a paintbrush to examine a selection of strangely-shaped rocks collected from White Moss (a hill Wordsworth often climbed at night), we will invent wild words for the tones, textures and colours of the landscape.


Like the out-of-place rocks, poems will arrive glacially and out of place.

Notes on either rocks or new poems will be posted here when they do.


Have a question?

You can call the Wordsworth Trust on +44 (0)15394 35544 or email them at enquiries@wordsworth.org.uk

If you want to get in touch with Holly, leave a message below.