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February’s Stories and Poems

Written by Lily Kehoe, 7th February 2023

We’re looking to the world around us this month, as the trees are getting ready to bud and we start to see the familiar flowers that herald that spring is on its way. All of February’s Stories and Poems have been chosen with the Environment in mind, making us think about the ways in which the places we live in shape our experiences.

Several of the choices come from The Reader Bookshelf, as we continue to look at the theme of Light and Darkness. For February we’re highlighting extracts and poems from Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay, The Collected Stories of Anton Chekhov and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

In February’s stories and extracts, we visit both rural and urban environments and, as we read, begin to build up pictures of how our surroundings have distinctive characteristics of their own and, in turn, have an influence on the people who inhabit them. In some instances, the environment we find ourselves in can help us to open ourselves up to other people, with solutions being sought for problems. There are many things that we can learn from nature, if we take a few moments to listen…

February’s stories and extracts are:

‘The Granite City’ (extract from Red Dust Road) by Jackie Kay

‘Being’ (extract from The Living Mountain) by Nan Shepherd

‘Fields’ by Jean Giono (translated by Edward Ford)

‘Tracks’ (extract from The Old Ways) by Robert Macfarlane

‘A Day in the Country’ by Anton Chekhov

In recent times, spending time in nature has felt especially important for many of us. This month’s poetry selections are a timely reminder to take a look up and around, exploring what is out there to discover if we take some time out of the hectic rush of the day-to-day. What happens if we find that the outside world is restricted to us? We also consider the point of view of creatures who face the consequences of human impact on the environment.

‘A year passes quickly’, from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by Bernard O’Donoghue

‘To a Mouse’ by Robert Burns

‘Shut Out’ by Christina Rossetti

‘The Heeding’ by Rob Cowen

‘Almond Blossom’ by Fiona Benson

If you're a Reader Leader head to the Online Community Hub to download this month's selection.

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