Robert Macfarlane and Jackie 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 – and adults! – to discover the natural world around them.

We have a programme of activities inspired by this book for both kids and grown-ups, which we have run in community centres, with organizations and charities, and which can be booked for school groups.

Workshops for Kids

Along with local ecologists, we offer a nature-walk-and-poetry-workshop to explore local green spaces and use language and creative writing to engage with the natural world. Ideal for 7-14 year olds, this is a 3-hour session which combines building 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 head out into the park to explore. Local nature experts will lead the walks, 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.

We have run these sessions at places such as Hill End Outdoor Education Centre, Blackbird Leys Summer School, and various primary schools in the area. In collaboration with Flo’s Place in the Park, and made possible by the generosity of the Midcounties Co-operative and Community Action Groups, we have run a series of pilot sessions and plan to run a series of these workshops.

We run these workshops regularly with community groups and local organizations, but are able to run them in schools, small private groups, and other organizations. Fees are very negotiable! To discuss further how we can offer this session for you and the kids in your life, email us at oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.com

Workshops for Adults

The Lost Words is a book which can be enjoyed by all ages, and everyone should find time to explore, celebrate, and learn about the natural world around us! The workshops we run for kids are highly adaptable to groups of adults, with the similar structure of led nature walk and poetry writing.

We have run a few sessions with the Devon Recovery Learning Community thinking about how engaging with the natural world can improve emotional well-being, and the benefit creative writing can have on our mental health.

We can run these sessions for groups of up to 10 adults in any space where there is a bit of outdoors to explore, and an indoors to spread out and do some writing and art. Fees are very negotiable! To discuss further how we can offer this session for you, email us at oxfordpoetrylibrary@gmail.com

The Lost Words Crowdfunder 2019

In spring 2019, we also provided The Lost Words sessions as part of the successful The Lost Words crowdfunding campaign to get a copy of the book in every infant, primary, and special school in Oxfordshire. As part of the crowdfunder, there was a prize draw for all participating schools to win a presentation of the book, and a workshop with us. On 3 May 2019, we went to spend the morning with Whitchurch Primary School to deliver this workshop!

As part of this campaign, we also helped put together a guide for resources, organizations, and activities happening around The Lost Words, poetry, and nature for children in Oxford. Click on the cover below to read this guide electronically:

lost Words resource pack cover only