Jane Lovell was a teacher for thirty years. After leaving teaching to focus on poetry, she has won many awards, including the Wigtown Prize and the Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet competition.
Jane has been birdwatching at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for years, taking wonderful photos.
Sussex Wildlife Trust is delighted to be collaborating with her on a series of workshops, called Voices of Rye Harbour (Writing the Wild with Sue Richardson on 13th June, Landscapes Light and Sounds with Jane on 20th June and Small Wonders with Jane on 27th June). These are planned to coincide with The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild campaign, encouraging people to take part in an activity relating to nature every day.
Emma Chaplin asks Jane about herself, her poetry and her connection with nature as they walk at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.
How long have you been coming to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve?
For many years – Pett and Camber too - but more frequently since we moved into the area three years ago.
What do you enjoy most?
I grew up in East Anglia and walked a lot on the Fens, so I love the huge horizon, and the fact that the skies, land and sea converge here. I find the landscape uncluttered, a place of peace and calm, which gives you space to think. I like the sounds, especially the larks rising – they remind me of childhood.
Tell us about Voices of Rye Harbour
I’ve been working with Barry on developing a series of poetry workshops, which have been created for those who do have not necessarily have much experience of writing, or of sharing their writing. We’ll be thinking about the landscape and wildlife, and the aim is to increase people’s confidence as well as their skills. One of the workshops will be run by Susan Richardson, a well-known nature poet who works in coastal areas and was recently nominated for the Ted Hughes prize.
When did you become interested in poetry and nature?
I’ve also had a passion for wildlife and, particularly, ornithology. I’ve loved writing poetry for a similar length of time, since I was about eight. I was encouraged by my aunt and uncle, both English teachers, who made me feel I was good at it. I like the pure and precise use of language, and the fact that, with poetry, you keep learning.
Tell us a few things about yourself.
I live with my husband in a small village in Kent. I have four cats, two dogs and we have a huge allotment so I spend a lot of time outdoors. I like collecting all kinds of things, fossils and found objects. I am the Poetry Stanza rep for Kent. I used to enter a lot of cookery competitions and was a contestant on MasterChef in the Lloyd Grossman years.
What inspires you?
Quirky facts and stories from history and weird scientific facts. I like to research my subjects very carefully and include detail in my writing.
What are you reading at the moment?
Cold Sea Stories by Pawel Huelle, a very old book about bird calls by an eccentric writer called Charles S. Bayne, and the latest issue of Dark Mountain.
What is the connection between nature and poetry?
Nature poetry can be quite dark in terms of raising awareness of issues relating to the natural world and the environment, but it can also celebrate the beauty of it, so there’s a spectrum. The relationship between people and the natural world at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is a somewhat complex but positive one. I'm hoping it will lead to some upbeat poetry focused on coastal environments and wildlife.
What do you feel about the Discovery Centre?
It will be a wonderful resource for taking people’s experience a step further.
Jane's website can be found here