Wild Poetry – call for submissions

Hive is thrilled to announce Wild Poetry, a fabulous spring-into-summer poetry project open for submissions from poets from 14 to 25 until 22nd May.  The project, funded by Grow Wild UK, encourages young writers to write a wide range of poems inspired by UK native wild flowers, plants, & fungi. Work selected will be made into a book accompanied by interesting and relevant facts.

In the UK we’re lucky to have some amazing wild flowers and plants, but they’re in danger: we have lost 97% of wild flower meadows since the 1930s. This not only means less colour in our lives but it’s impacting on populations of butterflies, bees, pollinating bugs and birds. (Grow Wild UK)

This is an opportunity for young writers of poetry (from 14 to 25) to respond to an open theme, through research and observation in any way they wish – from finding inspiration drawn from things like plant folklore, Bach flower remedies, or the Victorian Language of Flowers (Floriography), to simply examining something up close or sitting in a park or garden with a notepad and taking it all in.

We are looking for a diverse range of plants, trees, flowers and fungi to be covered. 20 poems inspired by bluebells, or meadows, no matter how good, will be a bit much! We’re particularly keen to shine a spotlight on the many wonderful wild plants and fungi that many of us likely don’t even known exist.

All poetry forms are welcome from free verse to haiku, from list poems to ode poems. You can write in the voice of a flower thought to cure indecisiveness, cameo a plant as metaphor or symbolism in a poem about something else, or take inspiration from the weird and wonderful smells, habits and names of plants. As long as there is a significant link, and it’s native and grows wild in the UK, anything goes!

Young poet, Eloise Unerman, who’s been helping to put the Wild Poetry project together for her Silver Arts Award, has written this fine example of what’s possible (having never seen a Ghost Orchid!)

The ghost orchid (Epipogium aphyllum) was thought to have been extinct since 1986 but was last spotted in Hertfordshire in 2010. It is found mainly in deep leaf-litter in beech woods where the ground is virtually bare of vegetation and more rarely in oak woodland. The plant is hard to see – the best way is to shine a bright torch beam parallel to the ground to highlight the flowering spikes.

Rare Sightings

While the other girls were pretending
to be daisies and daffodils, you fancied

yourself as a ghost orchid. Everything was
underground with you, whispered words, tips

of icebergs. Stories about the legendary
curves of your long, white legs got lodged

in young heads. By the time you were sixteen,
getting a look at you was like seeing a UFO.

You would show up, flash your flesh and disappear.
Ghost Hunters, boys who called themselves

men, chased you with the thrill of the hunt
on their faces, as I stood by, fearing your extinction.

You can submit up to 3 poems, from a tiny 10 word haiku to a 10 stanza epic, but we’re looking for your best work. We’re also asking you to send a little information with your poem about what inspired it. This might be a potted description of the plant encyclopedia style, its personal significance to you, or some interesting facts (or myths!) you found out when you delved deeper.

Click here 650 wildflower species in the countryside in Britain (but there are sooo many more!)
Click here for an introduction to fungi and some common species found in Britain
Click here for trees native to Britain

Get in touch for a support sheet with some fine poetry examples and exercise ideas to get you scribbling! wildpoetry@hivesouthyorkshire.com
Deadline: Midnight Sunday 22nd May | send to: wildpoetry@hivesouthyorkshire.com

Wild Poetry is funded by Grow Wild UK the national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.