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January’s Stories and Poems

Written by Lily Kehoe, 19th January 2023

The start of a new year can often feel like a time to reset, refocus and begin again, so it’s with the feeling of starting, or starting once more, in mind that we have chosen January’s selection of stories and poems on the theme of ‘Fresh Starts and New Beginnings’.

One thing that we have brought with us from 2022 into 2023 is The Reader Bookshelf, with its current theme of Light and Darkness. This month we feature selections from several Bookshelf texts: Wintering by Katherine May, The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker, Through Corridors of Light, edited by John Andrew Denny, and Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore.

Beginnings can happen in life all the time and in lots of circumstances. We might find ourselves taking on new challenges, moving to different places, or transitioning from one chapter of our life onto the next. Some beginnings can be exactly that; for example, a child being born. In other instances, a new start can present itself in a more subtle way, perhaps by meeting a new person or venturing out of a comfort zone into somewhere which can encourage new things to happen. All of January’s stories and poems touch upon the notion of a beginning, with the challenges as well as the opportunities these beginnings present affecting those experiencing them in a variety of ways.

January’s stories and extracts are:

‘Epiphany’ (extract from Wintering) by Katherine May 

‘Karl’ (extract from Manja) by Anna Gmenyer 

‘Good will and more good will’ (extract from A Passage to India) by E.M. Forster

‘At the End of the Line’ by Penny Feeny

‘My name’s Ruth’ (extract from The Third Life of Grange Copeland) by Alice Walker

While new beginnings can be exciting, they can also perhaps make us feel uncertain and even a little afraid of what is to come next that we don’t know about. This month’s poetry choices explore these feelings of being lost and feeling like we have quite a way to go in our respective journeys through life. We might take heart from nature, which is constantly going through cycles of change and renewal. In other cases, we might be encouraged to know that new beginnings might come when we least expect it, or even when we’ve given up hope on them happening at all.

‘The Sycamore’ by Wendell Berry

‘Song of a Man Who has Come Through’ by D.H. Lawrence

‘Half way along the road we have to go’ (from The Divine Comedy) by Dante

XXXVII (from Gitanjali) by Rabindranath Tagore

‘Morning Song’ by Sylvia Plath

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

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