“Go to the pine to learn of the pine”
We believe a connection between people and the nonhuman world is so important. However far away that world may seem, ultimately it is home. Spending time with that home is good for our minds, good for our bodies, and good for the Earth.
Our ecopoetry courses and workshops are designed to help people develop this connection. At its heart, ecopoetry is poetry that thrives on being in the world, learning about it, and reflecting on it. To write ecopoetry is also to get intimate with what surrounds us, to pay attention to whole landscapes and individual plants or creatures, to feel more a part of the places where we live.
People choose to write ecopoetry for any number of reasons. For some it is a simple love of nature, for others an environmental act. Some find it a source of calm, or a way to face climate change. It may offer a reassuring sense of connection with the natural world, or be part of a contemplative or spiritual practice. It can be many of these things at once, and more.
Whether you live in an urban environment, a rural environment, or somewhere in between, ecopoetry is a powerful way to strengthen your connection with the natural world.
What We Offer
We offer inspiring ecopoetry courses and workshops grounded in the world around us. Our practical, hands-on, approach emphasises direct contact with the natural world as the basis of a rich writing practice. We work with individuals, communities, adults, and children, helping people to develop an intimate and informed knowledge of the places they call home through poetry.
In addition, we work on solo and collaborative creative projects and festivals that focus on the relationship between people and their surrounding environments.
Go to the Pine works for a future in which people and the nonhuman world have a healthy relationship based on care and respect.
Why “Go to the Pine”?
Go to the Pine borrows its name from famed poet Matsuo Bashō's statement that we should “go to the pine to learn of the pine, go to the bamboo to learn of the bamboo”. This is a message at once ecological, practical, and spiritual. At its root lies the simple notion that to really know the world we must spend time with it, allowing it to be itself so that we can form honest, direct, and intimate relationships with it.
I'm Chris Poundwhite and I currently live in the South of England. I have always loved the natural world and the words we write about it. My fondest childhood memories are of catching grasshoppers and playing in woods, following ant trails and exploring caves. My fascination with the natural world has never left, and I can still easily spend half an hour watching a beetle negotiate a few blades of grass with utter fascination.
Today, my deeply felt affinity for nature forms the subject of my poetry, which has been published in magazines, journals, and anthologies. It also led me to study a Masters in 20th Century English Literature, where I focused on the relations between poetry, nature and science. My dissertation was on English-language haiku, which can be understood as a kind of ecopoetry. From 2009 – 2016 I sat on the committee of the British Haiku Society. I am the founder and editor of Gull, a zine of short ecoliterature and art.
I have been teaching poetry and running workshops since 2009, and have appeared at many festivals including the Bournemouth Literary Festival, the Winchester Writers' Festival, and SALT: Festival of the Sea and Environment, amongst others. I also curate festivals that engage with place and environment.
I started Go to the Pine in response to a growing sense that people need more ways to connect with the natural world, and that the world needs us to care more about it. The courses and workshops I offer through Go to the Pine are one small way to help with that.