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September’s Stories and Poems

Written by Lily Kehoe, 18th September 2023

With autumn arriving imminently, September’s Monthly Stories and Poems feel all the more apt as the leaves begin to change.

As part of the Making Meaning at Calderstones project, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, we have been exploring the international botanical and natural history of Calderstones Park. Together with cultural identity groups based in Liverpool, we have looked closely at natural histories and learnt about the significance of the trees in the park to cultures and people all over the globe. Amongst the trees to be found at Calderstones are the Sugi tree, the national tree of Japan, the Ginkgo from China and the Tulip tree from America.

To celebrate the project, this month’s stories, extracts and poems have been chosen with the theme ‘Around the World in Plants and Trees’ in mind. The world around us, and particularly nature, can have a significant impact on our lives; we can come to associate places with people in our lives, and specific relationships. In some instances, family and ancestral history are tied closely with the lives of plants and lands, the two being unable to be separated.

Also included this month are selections from The Reader Bookshelf. Featured for September are extracts from Janet’s Repentance by George Eliot and The Divine Comedy by Dante, a story from the collection Waiting for the Evening News by Tim Gautreaux, and a poem from A Year With Rilke by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.

September’s stories and extracts are:

‘A very smiling scene’ (extract from Mansfield Park) by Jane Austen

‘The Council of Pecans’ (extract from Braiding Sweetgrass) by Robin Wall Kimmerer

‘Returnings’ by Tim Gautreaux – from Waiting for the Evening News

‘The seeds of things’ (extract from Janet’s Repentance) by George Eliot

‘Trespassing’ by Margaret Drabble

This month’s poem selections encourage us to take a closer look at the plants and trees around us. Even though we know that things grow and change, we can still find ourselves surprised and discover miracles in nature. We also find ourselves in new and strange places, and seeing through the eyes of other creatures.

‘The Metier of Blossoming’ by Denise Levertov

‘See the Flowers’ by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows – from A Year With Rilke

‘Surrender as you enter’ (extract from The Divine Comedy) by Dante, translated by Robin Kirkpatrick

‘Grandfather in the Garden’ by Robert Minhinnick

‘The Cats Will Know’ by Cesare Pavese, translated by Geoffrey Brock

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

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