Coleridge in Shrewsbury

Bob Fowke will be speaking on The Pirate and the Poet – Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Captain George Shelvock, in the Unitarian Church, High Street, Shrewsbury, at 2.00 pm on Sunday 10th January. The talk is in aid of the Shrewsbury Literary Festival.

In November 1794, Coleridge was out walking with William and Dorothy Wordsworth, seeking for a central concept for what he hoped would be a block-buster, gothic poem and Wordsworth suggested an episode from A Voyage Round the World by Way of the Great South Sea by Shrewsbury man (or pirate), Captn. George Shelvocke, where Shelvocke describes the shooting of an albatross by his Second Captain, Simon Hatley. From this suggestion grew the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, and Simon Hatley thus became the unsung model for Coleridge’s Mariner. Bob Fowke looks at the extraordinary story behind the poem, the pirate and the voyage.