Introduction to “The Frantic Clamour of Spring” by Amanda Tuke (workshop co-leader, anthology curator and nature-writer)
Contributed by 11 nature-writers, these are eleven diverse responses to the theme of The Frantic Clamour of Spring. These ultra-short Thumbnail Nature pieces are the astonishing output from a nature-writing workshop held on the 17th of April 2021 as part of the Festival of the Great North Wood which was jointly led by myself, Great North Wood nature-writer-in-residence and Jane Adams, a Dorset nature-writer.
Nature-writing on the theme of spring often leads to a plethora of clichés, but not among these pieces.
From Kerry Brown’s ‘mousebrown pingpong ball’ and Alan Newland’s ‘puffed-up tit’ to Antje Ayala-Torales ‘Green Arrows’, there’s a fresh new take on the ultimate spring cliché - the dawn chorus.
Bonnie L. Boucek’s ‘thawing season’, Sarah Keevil’s swamp where ‘eggs lie ready to burst’ and Rebecca Zimmerman’s ‘cacophany of languages’ all hint at an ambivalence towards the season.
In a contemplative mood, Nicola Hunt writes that ‘the beginning is also an end’ while Sarah Wheeler smells the ‘scent of memory’.
And, finally, Britta Benson celebrates the sheer exuberance of spring in a ‘frothy orgy of frog’ as does Leah Watt in the ‘frantic yelp’ of dogs and Rosemary Cantwell with swallows ‘nuzzling in eaves’.
This was made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.