Are we losing the words to describe our wild encounters in the natural world? One of the key principles of rewilding is the aim of reconnecting people with the wonder of nature, as well as restoring and conserving natural processes, ecosystems and endangered species. The aim of today’s workshop was to explore the value of ‘wild words’ and writing in a wild setting to inspire an emotional and enduring connection with the natural world.
I met my fellow ‘wild poets’ in Spurn Discovery Centre’s Education Room, where we introduced ourselves over tea and biscuits: Hull poets Julie Corbett and Liz Holt; Gina Hobbs, editor at Holderness Gazette; and Clint Wastling, a Holderness-based writer, who introduced some of the gorgeous language of geology into our discussions. It was great to put faces to names, as we were all emailing back and forth before the event. Julie, who I first contacted through New Writing North, runs Hull Stanza and has been amazingly supportive of the Poetic Spurn project, putting me in touch with a host of local writers and organisations.
We started with a writing icebreaker, writing tweet length, haiku or acrostic poems inspired by favourite words for nature that we each brought along. Andrew Mason, Heritage Officer at Spurn, led a guided walk around part of the site, looking at the plants, habitat and tidal forces at Spurn. After warming up with hot drinks and lunch in the Discovery Centre cafe, we headed back outside to do some writing at different spots around the reserve, before coming together to share our work and discuss our experiences at the end of the session. There is real joy in granting yourself time to write, and everyone seemed to get a lot from the day. I’m looking forward to hearing the finished pieces at Spurn Autumn Arts Festival (Saturday and Sunday 19th and 20th of October).
Thanks also to Holderness Gazette for the excellent article about the day.