Today (Saturday 21st March) is World Poetry Day and International Day of Forests; to mark these two events we took one of our finest poets, Aly Stoneman and commissioned her to write a poem influenced by perhaps the most legendary woodland in the world, Sherwood Forest.
We first travelled to the new visitor centre ran by the RSPB and spent the day meeting the staff and volunteers, before being took on a tour of the wood, thick with oaks, gnarled and noble. It was a fascinating day and Aly left with notepads full of ideas and thoughts.
Over a few days, she compressed these into verse, bringing forth a poem that touches on connection, community, nature and the very essence of what it is to be part of something larger. In these fraught times, the message is germane.
Armed with verse, we returned to Sherwood a second time where the Visitor Centre staff generously gave up their time (and in many cases, their comfort zone!) to be filmed reading the poem. Each and every one was brilliant, and we cannot thank them enough. We hope this leads to further collaborations with the Visitor Centre, the RSPB and Sherwood Forest: when it comes to poetry, nature is entwined with the complexity of the underground systems that Aly describes.
At this time of global crisis and lockdown, we need strong networks of words more than ever. To our fellow Cities of Literature, all undergoing varying degrees of pressure, we reach out with words. To our readers in Notts, who are now into isolation, we are with you throughout.