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March’s Stories and Poems

Written by Lily Kehoe, 7th March 2023

March is a month that sees a lot of change taking place, the most obvious being the steady lengthening of the days as the clocks get ready to make their annual leap forward as well as new growth and life coming into the natural world. With that in mind, it’s perhaps not a coincidence that the Monthly Stories and Poems for March touch upon the theme of change in a number of ways – some change that is welcome, others that feel a little uncomfortable or harder to navigate.

This month is the final month of the ‘Light and Darkness’ theme of The Reader Bookshelf, before we get ready to usher in a new Bookshelf theme for the year ahead. We share selections from the current list of 12 texts, with extracts from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and a poem which is included in the anthology Through Corridors of Light, edited by John Andrew Denny.

In March’s stories and extracts, we explore how people can be changed and influenced by their surroundings, the friendships and relationships they forge and the events that happen around them – some of these events being easier to get away from than others. Also, we can experience change through the absence of people as much as we can in meeting and developing relationships with new people. How can we help ourselves through the difficulty of change? How much might we depend on other people to feel secure in ourselves? These are just a couple of questions this month’s stories and extracts might bring up for us. One extract in particular might provide a refreshing and reflective change of scenery for most of us…

March’s stories and extracts are:

‘Sparrow’ by George Saunders

‘Is Heathcliff not here?’ (extract from Wuthering Heights) by Emily Brontë

‘Voice of the Wood’ (extract from Surfacing) by Kathleen Jamie

‘Amy’s Will’ (extract from Little Women) by Louisa May Alcott

‘The relief centre’ (extract from Half of a Yellow Sun) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

While we might be on the lookout for changes in the world around us, this month’s poetry choices can help us to think about more about periods of change in our lives, be it from one season to another or moving from childhood to other stages in life. Just as change can often feel tricky to get to grips with, there are a few things to puzzle over and explore in these poems. We’d encourage you to think of our Five Essentials, and especially the essential ‘Be Bold’, in reading these poems, to embrace the feeling of the unknown rather than turn away from it.

‘The Trees’ by Philip Larkin, from the anthology Through Corridors of Light, edited by John Andrew Denny

‘Twinkling Lights’ by Tove Ditlevsen (translated by John Irons)

‘Patience, hard thing!’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins

‘Testimonial’ by Rita Dove

‘Diving into the Wreck’ by Adrienne Rich

If you’re interested in reading more from Gerard Manley Hopkins, explore more at our latest Shared Reading Masterclass on The Collected Poems of Hopkins on Tuesday 7th March, 10.00am – 12.00noon. To reserve a place, contact

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

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