How does Wordsworth describe the language he claims to have selected for his poems? 

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Wordsworth claims that modern poets have lost sight of what should be the real purpose of all poetry. He thinks that poetry ought to excite the emotions and the imaginations of readers, and that it should convey the profound sentiments that can be seen in everyday life, especially in nature. By focusing on elaborate techniques, obscure allusions, and double entendres, modern poets have obscured these emotions in the interest of showing off their own learning and ability. He thus tells his readers that the poems in Lyrical Ballads, written by himself and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, will be written in language that would be accessible to ordinary people:

The principal object, then, which I proposed to myself in these Poems was to chuse [sic] incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible, in a selection of language really used by men...

In short, poetry needed to be stripped down to its essentials in order to have the greatest effect. The poems in Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth said, would do just that.

Read the study guide:
Preface to Lyrical Ballads

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