News & Events

The Lost Words at Hill End

Have you been missing our Lost Words workshops during lockdown? Want to see what these workshops are all about? We are bringing our Lost Words workshop to Hill End on October 17th! The session will be fully socially distanced, will be outdoors as much as possible, and will stay within the limit of 30 attendees for educational activities.

 

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.

Booking essential.

Please note that this session is run by the Friends of Hill End – for bookings and all other enquiries, please contact them directly at: friendsofhillend@gmail.com

The Lost Words Oxfordshire Competition

The Lost Words for Oxfordshire and Oxford Poetry Library present a competition inspired by the spellbinding book, The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris – and you have just over a month to enter!

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

 

How to enter

Choose one of the Activity Packs from the Oxford Poetry Library website on plants, birds, or minibeasts. These are absolutely free to download, can be printed out and completed on paper or done from a mobile device or computer.

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 thelostwordsoxfordshire@gmail.com

Or post it to the following address:

The Lost Words Oxfordshire Competition
Flat 1
242a Barns Place
Barns Road
Oxford
OX4 3RQ

Please download and fill in this form and include it with your submission (a scan or photograph of the form is fine!).

Please note that all entrants must be between 7-14 years old, and must be temporarily or permanently resident in Oxfordshire at the time of submission.

The closing date is 2 November 2020.

For queries or more information, email thelostwordsoxfordshire@gmail.com

We can’t wait to see your spells!

 

Poetry for Autumn

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?

 

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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 oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.com and ask for any recommendations (or let us surprise you with a librarian’s choice!).

Email oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.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).

Happy reading!

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Order your summer reading now!

It’s been a long spring, but taking our cue from the public library opening on 13 July, we are now ready to start sharing our books with you all again from this Monday! We’re not quite in a position to start up our public appearances with the bike, but are offering you the chance to order your books by emailing oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.com.

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 oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.com and ask for any recommendations (or let us surprise you with a librarian’s choice!).

Email oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.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 September 1st, and books can be returned in the usual way at any of our drop-boxes (more details here).

Happy reading!

 

Oxford is my Home: The Lockdown Edition – LAUNCH!

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, our homes have been transformed. Bedrooms have become offices, living rooms have become classrooms, gardens have become gyms, and every house has become a cage of sorts.

Some people without a home have found one whilst others have been evicted, and many, many people live with the uncertainty of not being able to afford to keep theirs.

‘Oxford is My Home’ is a zine produced by Oxford Poetry Library and Open House which uses words and pictures to tell the hidden stories of housing and homelessness in Oxford and what it means to call this city ‘home’. You can read more about our first two issues which were released throughout 2019 here.

For our third issue, we wanted to know what #StayatHome looks like for you? How are you spending your days? Who are you with? Are you enjoying yourself? What are you worried about? What do you miss about being able to leave your home?

The Lockdown Edition is our collection of submissions gathered during April and May 2020. We included everything we were sent to ensure we platformed as many voices as possible, and are hugely grateful to everyone who contributed.

You can now browse the webzine in full here: www.oxfordismyhome.co.uk

Youth in Lockdown

 

Oxfordshire Discovery College are working in partnership with Oxford Poetry Library and Open House Oxford on our Oxford is my Home project to provide a space for young people (age 13-25) to share their experiences of lockdown through creativity. We’re producing a digital zine of visual arts and creative writing by young people across the county called Youth in Lockdown, so that their voices can be heard.

To find out how to get involved, submit and get more info about the project, check our FAQs here:

https://oxfordshirediscoverycollege.wordpress.com/2020/05/19/youth-in-lockdown-get-involved/

 

From Someone Else’s Point of View

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have ONE MORE DAY to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

From Someone Else’s Point of View

We’re spending a lot of time in our own heads at the moment, and in the same spaces and the same rooms. Why not try to get into the perspective of something you see every day? It can be a pet, an object in your bedroom, a piece of furniture, a houseplant, a book, a piece of clothing, a robin which comes to your garden every day…

Try to imagine what the lockdown feels like from that thing/creature’s point of view. Write a poem or story as if you were that object or animal. What will they be feeling, sensing, seeing? How do they see you? How different is their experience of the lockdown to yours?

What happened today?

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

What happened today?

Start with the phrase ‘What happened today?’ and then keep writing non-stop for 3 minutes. Don’t think too hard about what you write because this is just to get started and see where your mind takes you. You don’t even need to try and make it like a poem. The only aim is to keep writing for the full 3 minutes.

Look back at what you wrote. Find one word, sentence or phrase that you particularly like. Could this be a start of a poem?

Explore your chosen words. Are there other words which mean something similar or the opposite? Does this word rhyme with anything else? This will lead you to the next line.

Try using all 5 senses – smell, touch, taste, sight and sound to bring your poem to life.

Remember: there are really no rules to what make a good poem. They might rhyme or they might not. They might be long or short. The most important thing is to enjoy writing!

A How-To Poem

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

A How-To Poem

This is a poem in the form of an instruction manual, recipe, or any kind of directions. Whatever the format is, you must explain how to do something.

Though this is a simple form, this leaves lots of room to play with it. You could:

  • Write instructions to something unusual or fantastical (an example is ‘Instructions’ by Neil Gaiman)
  • Write a recipe for making something abstract – like freedom, love, or trust
  • Be ironic – write instructions which are the opposite of what people should do
  • Mix it up – try writing out a list of instructions for one thing (e.g. pruning roses) and then use those instructions for a ‘how to’ poem about something completely different (e.g. having an argument)

 

Here’s some examples to get you started:

‘Please do not feed the animals…’ by Robert Hull

‘One Art’ by Elizabeth Bishop

Write an Ode

The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

 

Write an Ode

An ode is a poem where you celebrate something ordinary. By writing an ode you’re challenging yourself to spend some time thinking about all the aspects of an object which make it special to you, and which we normally might overlook. Odes can be funny, serious, joyful, or nostalgic but the main aim is to bring your chosen object to life through celebrating it – make the ordinary extraordinary!

Here are some tips for writing your ode:

Pick an ordinary place or thing.

Give your subject praise or thanks. (Oh, _____________!)  Speak directly to the object.

Spend time deeply thinking about your object. Try starting by writing down everything of note without worrying how it might be a poem (you could even try a mind map). Then go back to pick out the most striking thoughts and shape them into a poem.

What does it mean to you? You might find that you associate this object with certain memories & preoccupations, or it may start you thinking about larger, abstract themes.

Try using verbs to bring your object to life. Think about what personality your object would have if it was person – how would it move or speak or think?

Want some more inspiration before getting started? Have a read of these modern ode examples:

‘Ode to My Socks’ by Pablo Neruda

‘Ode to Shea Butter’ by Angel Nafis

‘Home Movies: A Sort of Ode’ by Mary Jo Salter