The theme for National Poetry Month this year is nature – a broad topic, especially within the context of Canada across which are spread varied types of landscapes and natural environments. Whether it’s mountain ranges, deserts, forests, oceans, or plains; whether it’s a cityscape or a landscape, for #NPM19, we encourage you to spend time this month reading, writing, and sharing poetry that translates the emotional, practical, and reciprocal relationships we build – as individuals and communities – to the natural world onto the page.
Here are 5 nature activities that we hope might inspire a poem, because, as Open Book columnist Carrianne Leung suggests, spending simple time outdoors can help your writing practice. These activities are suggested as a break from your desk to get out into the world – something to ignite your creative thinking.
Use these low-commitment activities as meditations to help you focus in on a project in progress or to inspire new writing based on your experience of the activity.
Move if you can. Go outside and walk. Walking does something interesting and rhythmic with your brain. Or point your toes in your favourite direction or rotating your wrists. Remind yourself that you are a body. – Carrianne Leung
- Take a long and winding route to the café for a coffee break. Aim to see something new.
- Bring a notebook and sit on a bench or curb for fifteen minutes. Capture what you think/feel/see.
- Read a familiar passage from a book you love in a park. Walk home, then read it again on your doorstep. Note if the reading feels different, how it changes.
- Hike through a local nature path with a field guide (maybe borrowed from your local library) with the goal of identifying one new thing. This exercise is great for challenging yourself to slow down and tune-in to small details.
- Plant a seed or repot a houseplant. What grows will be a source of inspiration as you watch it change over time.