We know that, for many of you in lockdown, it has been difficult to explore parks, nature and the outdoors (particularly for those of you without a garden or who are unable to leave the house). With this in mind, we want to help bring the natural world into your home and inspire you to write poems about nature.
Poetry Resources about Nature
- Clare Mulley’s Nature and Wellbeing in Poetry is a fantastic resource that explores the relationship between nature and wellbeing, and was designed to accompany a Young Poets Network challenge Ways to be Wilder in collaboration with the charity People Need Nature and written by T. S. Eliot Prize winner Jen Hadfield. Read Jen’s brilliant writing challenge about Nature and Poetry.
- Did you know ‘dandelion’ comes from the French ‘dent de lion’ (lion’s tooth)? Explore our names for places, plants and landscapes with our second People Need Nature challenge with Jen Hadfield: Namedropping.
- Dave Reeves’ resource We’ll Weather the Weather brilliantly examines how humans can be represented in natural phenomena, for example thunder and Thor.
Poets on Nature
There are so many fantastic poems from poets from across the world. Here are a selection of some of our favourite poems about nature, including poems from young poets who wrote award-winning poems as part of a Young Poets Network challenge:
- You can read all of the winning poems from the Ways to be Wilder YPN challenge here, and the Namedropping challenge here.
- Seamus Heaney’s Death of a Naturalist
- Emily Dickinson’s A Narrow Fellow in the Grass (1096)
- Alice Oswald’s Memorial
- J.Patrick Lewis’ Said the Toad
- John Keats’ To Autumn
- William Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
- Search for nature poems on The Poetry Archive, The Children’s Poetry Archive and the US Poetry Foundation site.
Picture and Listen to Nature
Why not type into YouTube “sounds from nature” and have a listen. What can you hear, what images can you conjure up? If you cannot think of any descriptions, then why not draw what you can imagine and then describe your drawing? This is a great way to think about how a poet can articulate images that can resonate, inspire or challenge the reader.
Explore images of nature too. If you have a book with images of nature find somewhere to rest and take some time looking at the images, or alternatively search for photographs of nature on the internet, for example the Natural History Museums Wildlife Photography Competition or the Royal Horticultural Society’s Photography competition.
Enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award
If you are aged 11-17 years, then why not enter your new nature poems into the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award? The Foyle competition has no theme, so you can enter poems on any topic. To enter for free visit foyleyoungpoets.org. Closing 31 July.