Casting Nature's Spells

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Issue 305
November/December 2017
Light in Dark Days


Casting Nature's Spells

issue cover 305

Cover: Autumn Leaves in the Windstorm by Tara Turner

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The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris. Hamish Hamilton, 2017. ISBN: 9780241253588

At a time when outdoor play is becoming a rarity for many children, and once-common names for plants and animals are being replaced in our vocabularies by the language of new technology, an impressively sized book, The Lost Words, by the Nature writer Robert Macfarlane and the artist Jackie Morris, is trying to turn back the tide, Greg Neale writes.

Arranged alphabetically, the large-format book features 20 poems – “spells”, designed to be read aloud – by Macfarlane based on words connected to the natural world, from Acorn to Wren, with accompanying full-page watercolours by Morris. It’s a beautiful work of art that begs to be read out loud, as Macfarlane intends – and for its message to get through – though as a colleague observed, it’s an awkward size to read with a child on your knees.

An exhibition of the work from The Lost Words is planned at Compton Verney gallery from 21 October until 17 December 2017.

Greg Neale is editor-in-chief at Resurgence & Ecologist.

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