Thursday, 25 August 2011

Edgelands

Poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts collaborated on Edgelands, a book about the areas of nature that are found in and around the abandoned edges of built up areas. Yesterday at Edinburgh International Book Festival, they discussed this book with Stuart Kelly, the literary editor of Scotland on Sunday. The two poets read from the chapter on Water from the book, which talks about how there are many ponds and wetland areas in and around towns that are underappreciated, unnamed and often ignored, that are actually wonderful areas for wildlife and wilderness. There was then a discussion around some of the issues from the book:


Children are much less likely these days to go out by themselves to explore nature or to make dens in wild places. (Did you build dens when you were younger? Do your children? I had a den in my garden, I wasn't allowed out by myself when I was young, my parents were very overprotective.)


The process of searching out the forgotten areas of nature engages the senses and increases our powers of observation and attention.


Forgotten areas of nature are dynamic and ever changing. To some extent they are a barometer of economic situation, in that during economic downtimes more buildings are abandoned and then reclaimed by nature.

8 comments:

Elizabeth Rimmer said...

Thanks for this, Juliet - it's a book I am really impatient to get hold of!

Gołębnik said...

I think this book was abridged on Radio 4 a few months ago, and it sounded poetic and intriguing. The stuff about Essex inevitably calls to mind the dramatic scenes by the powerful Thames Estuary in the wonderful film Fish Tank …

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I love the word Edgeland -- and I think that's where we're staying now (near them anyway)... I will look up the book . I agree about the importance.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Great concept - Edgelands! Thanks.

Go make Dens? We packed lunches and headed down the railroad tracks for 2 or 3 miles to a big woods with a creek and played to our hearts content - we even had to take my little brother who was only about 7 years old! (We were all 9 or 10!) If we didn't get home for dinner that was our problem!

gabriellebryden said...

My little girl made a den, just the other day, on the dunes - made of branches, twigs and leaves - it's holding up really well - she pretends she is a wolf cub - haha - I used to make dens when I was a kid too.

bunnits said...

Oh, this brought back childhood memories. There was a field next to our house that was mown every summer. It must have been sedge, Johnson grass, and other tall grasses. I don't think the owner did anything with the cut vegetation. We played in it for weeks. Made dens, forts, castles, all sorts of things. Ah, what fun.

Annette F Tait said...

I spent every waking minute out in the wilderness by myself or with friends, building dens and exploring! not an adult in sight!
but now that i am older I would panic to think about my nieces doing what I was allowed to do!

Karen M said...

I grew up in an area of edgelands- farm partly reverting to woods, and partly turning to suburbs. There were overgrown fields hiding wild strawberries and black berry thickets. Pine groves and hardwood forests hid abandoned farm equipment and ancient cars. There was an old cemetary we scared ouselves in, and of course wild life to track. What memories. Kids miss so much these days.