poetry walk

September 23, 2014

Laurie Lee Wildlife Way

If the name Laurie Lee isn’t top-of-mind among American poetry readers, he is nonetheless beloved in the Cotswolds of south-central England, where celebrations in 2014 are marking the centenary of his birth. Called “Gloucestershire’s most famous twentieth century writer,” Lee is in fact best known by schoolchildren for the first volume of his autobiography, Cider With Rosie.

His life and work were deeply influenced by the local landscape, and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has honored him with the opening of the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way. This six-mile loop passes through four nature reserves, including Laurie Lee Wood, and includes 11 poetry posts with poems printed on glass to offer a window onto the scenery that inspired them.

For more on the trail, see Harriet O’Brien’s “Laurie Lee: A literary landscape in the Cotswolds” and historian and poet Stuart Butler’s blog about his experience on the trail, which he recommends, on a bike, which he does not: “Laurie Lee Wildlife Walk: Lit-crit on a bike.”

For more on Laurie Lee, see Valerie Grove’s book, Laurie Lee: The Well-loved Stranger (Viking, 1999, out of print), which is reviewed in “The tragic success of Laurie Lee” by Robert McCrumb, with fascinating insights into Lee’s life and oeuvre. See also the Laurie Lee Official Centenary Website and a remembrance of Rosalind Buckland, the “Rosie” who inspired Lee’s book and who died last week.

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