Week 3: Words from the Wild – Poetry

20.01.2021 – Theme Snowdrops

Hello Everyone,
I hope that you are all keeping safe and well. This week William and I chose the theme of Snowdrops as our inspiration for Words from the Wild. We found two poems about snowdrops: The Snowdrop by Anna Laetitia Barbauld and Snowdrops by Louise Gluck. They are included in a a beautiful poetry book (Flora Poetica – The Chatto Book of Botanical Verse) for anyone that is interested, but I have also found them available online so if you click on the name of each poem it should take you to it.

Snowdrops have an unusual place in folklore, in the past being associated with bad luck and even death. On doing some research I found two interesting blogs about this – in the first which you can find here, I found out that some of the negative associations originate from Greek mythology and Persephone, who brought snowdrops back from her time in the underworld to create Spring, however the flowers held negative connotations due to the underworld that they had come from. In the second webpage I also discovered that snowdrops have been viewed as a symbol of hope after an angel reportedly brought snowdrops to Eve when she was banished from the garden of Eden and grew tired of the endless winters. The snowdrops symbolised hope and proved that winter doesn’t last forever. If you want to read more you can find further info here.

Whatever you believe, snowdrops are certainly a sign that Spring is on the way and they are growing increasingly popular due to rare and unusual varieties that can be found. If you tip the head of the snowdrop upwards you will discover a range of different shapes and patterns. Some of the rarest snowdrops are now kept under guard and are worth hundreds of pounds, in a lovely moment of synchronicity Open Country on radio four made a whole show about snowdrops which was aired last Saturday. You can find it here – it’s well worth a listen!

Here are this weeks creative writing tasks:

Task 1: (5 mins) A symbol of hope. In Snowdrop by Anna Laetitia Barbauld she draws parallels to the snowdrop and winter, reflecting that they are almost icicles turned to flowers. For five minutes free write on the theme of winter and the appearance of the first snowdrops. Try to include where you first notice them each year, or where you might search for them if you haven’t seen any already.

Task 2: (5 minutes) Making our own mythology. What does a snowdrop remind you of? When you tip the flower head up I always thing of little stars shining down on the earth. Can you create your own fun mythological story explaining why snowdrops appear? Perhaps they are little lanterns warming the earth and melting the ice, or perhaps they are the night stars fallen to earth to create Spring. Be as creative as you like. Perhaps there is a special place that you know of where snowdrops grow, what do they symbolise for you? If you are unsure where to start write on the them of Hope.

Task 3: (10 mins) Louise Gluck’s poem describes the long journey for snowdrops being held underground and pushing forward to flower in Spring. Imagine feeling Spring air on your face for the first time. Write for ten minutes describing a refreshing Spring walk on a bright day. Remember to use your five senses to bring your writing to life (sight, sounds, taste, touch and smell).

Task 4: (5 mins) New arrivals. With the arrival of snowdrops we know that a whole range of colourful flowers will follow. Write on the theme of ‘A rainbow of Flowers’ for five minutes.

On a final note, I promised to let you know what I was drawing last week. I’ve been having fun creating paint splodges with a sponge and turning them into maps! This has become a favourite game at the moment. Once we have created our maps we name the islands and make up stories about who lives there and what types of animals we might find. Here’s one I made of an icy landscape!

Have fun writing. Remember – there are no rules! Just write, create and enjoy.
Best wishes,

Published by Emma

Hi my name is Emma! I am a writer and artist. I work for the NHS at Converge (www.yorksj.ac.uk/converge) and I am also an MA graduate in Creative writing and am currently studying for a PhD in Humanities. I have been leading a creative writing class at the beautiful St Nicks in York (www.stnicks.org.uk) for the last five years. When I am not at work I'm on my allotment or at Base Camp (my home) planning new adventures.

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