The exhibition will run from 1 September til 9 October at the Old Fire Station and showcases the work of 20 of these Community Action Groups, of which Oxford Poetry Library is one! We will be displaying the work which has emerged from our The Lost Words project. Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’s book, The Lost Words, encourages readers to connect with nature through poetry, and rediscover the wonder of the natural world. Inspired by this book, we have run a number of workshops over the past 2 years in schools and community groups, working with mental health charities and other arts organizations. In this exhibition, we will be celebrating the poetry written by the children and adults during these workshops.
We have been hard at work with a local artist and book-binder to create a beautiful book of this poetry. The book will be on display and available to browse at the exhibition so don’t miss the chance to come along and explore!
We have two upcoming opportunities to join us for our Lost Words nature-walk-and-poetry workshops, with a chance for kids of all ages to get involved.
For 7-14 year olds and families…
Saturday 25 September 10am – 1pm The Old Fire Station £5 per person (book here)
Oxford Poetry Library is delighted to bring its highly-rated nature poetry workshop to the Old Fire Station. This workshop is based on the award-winning book ‘The Lost Words’ by Robert Macfarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris, which aims to bring the natural world back into the lives of children through poetry.
Ideal for 7-14 year olds and their parents/guardians, this is a 3-hour session which combines nature identification skills, vocabulary building, and imaginative description using all five senses to explore nature. After a chat about the kind of creatures, creepy-crawlies, and all manner of living things we might be seeing (and a bit of binocular training!), we will head out into a nearby green space to explore. Local nature experts will lead the walk, teaching participants how to look and listen and notice the living world around us. We then return inside to create our own Lost Words-inspired poetry with the help of poet Phoebe Nicholson.
This workshop is part of the programme of events associated with CAG Oxfordshire’s From the Ground Up exhibition, running from 28 August-9 October. As part of this exhibition, we will showcase poetry which has emerged from The Lost Words workshops we have run over the past few years.
Saturday 11 September 10am – 1pm Wytham Woods £13.52 per person (book here)
Wytham Woods is delighted to host a new workshop for secondary school students from the amazing Oxford Poetry Library. OPL have adapted their highly-rated nature poetry workshop, inspired by “The Lost Words” by famous naturalist Robert Macfarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris, for an older age-group, and connecting with the school curriculum, and we are delighted to bring this opportunity to Wytham.
This workshop, with just 15 places, will give you a real boost to your secondary school English studies. You will have a delightful three hours with an expert ecologist and a professional poet, exploring the world famous Wytham Woods, sharing ideas, and enjoying the peace and quiet with paper and pen in hand.
For this September workshop we will be focussing on the end of summer / early autumn wildlife and having a look at the ponds at Wytham Woods for our inspiration. You will learn to identify some species and learn about how they live, and then be coached and encouraged to find your own words to express your thoughts and ideas.
We will round off the morning toasting marshmallows over a camp fire.
This workshop is being run by Wytham Woods’ Youth Educator in Residence through education social enterprise LIGC Ltd.
Join the Oxford Poetry Library at Wytham Woods for The Lost Words workshop aimed at KS3 and KS4.
Wytham Woods is delighted to host a new workshop for secondary school students from the amazing Oxford Poetry Library on June 5th, from 1pm-4pm. OPL have adapted their highly-rated nature poetry workshop, inspired by “The Lost Words” by famous naturalist Robert Macfarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris, for a new age-group, and connecting with the school curriculum, and we are delighted to bring this opportunity to Wytham.
This workshop, with just 15 places, will give you a real boost to your school literature studies, and your biology studies. You will have a delightful three hours with an expert ecologist and a professional poet, exploring the world famous Wytham Woods, sharing ideas, and enjoying the peace and quiet with paper and pen in hand.
For this June workshop we will be focussing on the birdlife at Wytham Woods for our inspiration. We will also find many butterflies, bees, dragonflies, and summer flowers. You will learn some identification and binocular skills, and then be coached and encouraged to find your own words to express your thoughts and ideas.
We will round off the afternoon toasting marshmallows over a camp fire.
About “The Lost Words”
In 2007 the Oxford Junior Dictionary left out words relating to the natural world – otter, wren, acorn and many others, and in their place added broadband, blog and others. In response, Macfarlane and Morris created ‘The Lost Words’ – a collection of acrostic poems by Macfarlane, gorgeously illustrated by Morris, which re-conjures these words, brings them back to our hearts and minds, and helps us rediscover the magic of the natural world.
Bird expert Nick Boyd will lead the nature walk and talk, teaching you how to look and listen and notice the living world around us, and poet Phoebe Nicholson will help us create our own Lost Words-inspired poetry.
Parents and guardians!
The event will be managed by Wytham Woods Youth Educator in Residence who will be there to ensure the students are all safe and happy throughout. Caregivers are very welcome to stay with the group during the session (you don’t need to book a ticket), drop off and go for a walk in the woods, or just come back later. We will take contact details and ask you to complete a form with all the relevant information we need to keep your child safe and happy. We hope you’ll join in the campfire and marshmallow bit!
What to bring
The event will be covid-safe and outdoors so please bring weather-appropriate clothing, suitable for a walk in the woods. Bring water, and snacks!
Tickets are £15 per person + eventbrite booking fee. We are charging enough for this event to cover the very modest costs of OPL for two people for the afternoon and their prep time, and the Wytham Woods costs. But if you are struggling with the amount, please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oxford Poetry Library and The Children’s Allotment return to Flo’s Place in the Park on 8 May at 10am til 12 noon with their Many Voices Collection, a collection of children’s books featuring Black characters, written by Black writers, or which centre an anti-racist message.
These books form part of the Oxford Poetry Library’s lending collection, to be borrowed and enjoyed for free by kids and adults alike. We will be at Flo’s on the 8 May with the full Many Voices Collection for you to explore the whole collection and take a book or two home with you!
The books in the Many Voices Collection include not only anti-racist books about understanding and challenging injustice, but also stories in which children could find diverse representations of themselves and their families, as well as those that are different.
Also joining us will be Auntie B’s Treasures, a library collection of Islamic children’s books to read, browse, and borrow.
Read more about the whole collection and the project here.
*COVID information* The pop-up will be outdoors in the nursery garden. It will be socially distanced and we will allow one household at a time to visit the stall. We will provide hand sanitiser and we ask all attendees to wear masks. Please do not attend the event if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or had direct contact with an individual diagnosed with or suspected to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
In February 2021, through the Oxford Poetry Library Twitter account (@OxPoetryLibrary) we ran an experimental collaborative writing game. We began by writing one haiku, and invited our followers to write a new haiku, using our final line as their first line. People could then use the first line of that haiku as their new first line, to create a growing tree of haikus.
We weren’t too stringent about the proper haiku rules – we asked for the 5-7-5 syllable structure, but weren’t too fussy about anything else. Poems could be on any subject, and we particularly enjoyed those that took things off in new directions.
The below tree is what came from it – click on the thumbnails to see the full images.
Yearning for a love letter this Valentine’s Day? Or a blind date? We’ve got you covered!
Email us at email@example.com before 13 February with your address and on Valentine’s Day we will deliver you a surprise seasonally-appropriate book to borrow! (Unfortunately only available within the Oxford ring-road…)
We are delighted to announce the launch of the Many Voices Collection!
The Many Voices Collection is a collection curated by Oxford Poetry Library and The Children’s Allotment of books featuring black characters, written by black writers, or which centre an anti-racist message. These books form part of the Oxford Poetry Library’s lending collection, free to be borrowed and enjoyed for free by kids and adults alike.
Books are a powerful way for children to understand the world they live in, but often the messages they receive from books reinforce harmful attitudes rooted in our society. Following the racist incidents of 2020 such as the murder of George Floyd and the global Black Lives Matter movement, a group of parents and educators connected to and Oxford Poetry Library and The Childrens Allotment came together to question the racism implicit in the education system and the kinds of books and learning materials around us.
White is frequently the norm in children’s literature, and books often reinforce stereotypes or completely omit the stories of those marginalised in our society. There are still too few books where children of colour can see characters who look like them. The Many Voices Collection seeks to address this gap in representation and build a diverse, colourful, and engaging collection of books for any family to borrow for free.
Come to the nursery garden of Flo’s Place in the Park, 12 December, between 12 noon and 3pm, to discover the collection for yourself, and borrow a book or two!
We are running a family workshop inspired by The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Macfarlane and Morris created this spellbinding collection in response to the 2007 edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary which introduced new words such as “broadband” and “blog” while words relating to the natural world (acorn, wren, otter, willow, to name a few) were lost. The dictionary, reflecting the frequency of words in the daily language of children, threw into undeniable relief the idea that children are losing touch with nature. Enter ‘The Lost Words’. This is a magical collection of acrostic poems by Macfarlane, gorgeously illustrated by Morris, which re-conjures these words, brings them back to our hearts and minds, and helps children to discover the natural world around them.
During this special one-off workshop for families (suitable for kids aged 7+) we aim to conjure this spirit in the beautiful grounds of Hill End! After a chat about the kind of creatures, creepy-crawlies, and all manner of living things we might be seeing (and a bit of binocular training!), we head out into Hill End to explore. Local nature expert, Nick Boyd, will lead the walk, teaching participants how to look and listen and notice the living world around us. We then return to the centre to create our own Lost Words-inspired poetry with the help of poet Phoebe Nicholson.
17 October 2020 1pm-4pm, suitable for age 7+
Cost £6/10 adults, £3/5 children (Friends of Hill End/others) capped at £18/30 per family.
Please note that this session is run by the Friends of Hill End – for bookings and all other enquiries, please contact them directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Macfarlane and Morris wrote this collection in response to the 2007 edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary which introduced new words such as “broadband” and “blog” while words from the natural world (acorn, wren, otter, willow, to name a few) were lost. They recognized this as a sure sign that children are losing touch with nature.
Enter ‘The Lost Words’! This is a magical collection of acrostic poems by Robert Macfarlane, gorgeously illustrated by Jackie Morris, which re-conjures these words, brings them back to our hearts and minds, and helps children to discover the natural world around them.
In 2019, The Lost Words for Oxfordshire ran a crowdfunder campaign to get a copy of The Lost Words in every primary, infant, and special school in Oxfordshire. The target was achieved and surpassed, meaning that secondary schools, charities and prisons also received copies so the book could be enjoyed by an even wider audience.
Oxford Poetry Library has run a series of workshops based on The Lost Words with local ecologists introducing children to the natural world all around them, with participants having the chance to write and illustrate their own Lost Words poem about a plant, bird, creature, or minibeast that inspired them. They’ve also just created three Activity Packs for anyone to create these workshops in their own home and local green spaces!
Now, The Lost Words for Oxfordshire and Oxford Poetry Library are inviting you to submit your own Lost Words spell, created using one of these Activity Packs, to be in for the chance to win your own copy of The Lost Words, its sequel The Lost Spells, or your own led Lost Words workshop.
Prizes and Judge
Robert Macfarlane will judge the competition. Not only is he the author of The Lost Words poems, he has written a number of other prize-winning books. Mostly for grown-ups, his writing about landscape, nature, and place includes The Old Ways, Landmarks and most recently Underland. He has also just completed The Lost Spells, a sequel to The Lost Words illustrated by Jackie Morris, as a more pocket-sized companion to discovering nature through poetry which will be published by Penguin in October 2020. He now lives and works in Cambridge as a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
The competition has two categories: 7-10 year olds, and 11-14 year olds. Prizes will be the same in both age groups:
First prize: A led workshop for up to 6 people, a copy of The Lost Words, and a copy of The Lost Spells
Second prize: a copy of The Lost Words and The Lost Spells
Highly Commended: a copy of The Lost Words OR The Lost Spells
Follow the pack, which will instruct you how to write and illustrate your own Lost Words spell! If you’d like to get some inspiration or to see the sorts of spells which have come out of previous workshops, explore some of the images here.
To submit your entry, scan or photograph your poem and artwork and email to email@example.com
Or post it to the following address:
The Lost Words Oxfordshire Competition
242a Barns Place
The weather is turning, school is back and autumn is definitely here. What better time to curl up with a book?
While we still aren’t quite ready to bring back our market and pop up appearances, why not order one of our books and we’ll deliver it straight to your door?
How to order
Browse our catalogue online here or have a snoop through our ‘book of the month’ archives for ideas, or feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for any recommendations (or let us surprise you with a librarian’s choice!).
Email email@example.com with your name and the book(s) you’d like, and your preferred method of collection (home delivery or pick-up).
How to get your book
When you let us know what you’d like, we will disinfect the book to the best of our abilities.
If you live within the ring-road, one of our volunteers will deliver the book to you at home by popping it through your letterbox.
If you live further afield or would rather pick up the book yourself, there is also an option to pick up the book at East Oxford. More details on request.
In both cases, volunteers will wear a face mask and gloves and social distancing will be observed.
Books are quarantined before being selected for delivery, and once books are returned will be quarantined and won’t be lent out again for a minimum of 72 hours.
The book loan period will be until December 1st, and books can be returned in the usual way at any of our drop-boxes (more details here).