Recommended reading (and listening)

Tilly in the studio

The hound and I are back in the studio, with apologies for being away so long -- due to a combination of health issues (getting better now) and an over-full schedule that I'm just barely keeping up with.

Drawing by Arthur Rackham

Here are some articles, videos, and podcasts I'd like to recommend, a seasonal round-up of my magpie gleanings from hither and yon:

* Sharon Blackie follows Myrddin, Mis, and other wild folk into the woods (The Art of Enchantment)

* Rob Maslen goes deep into William Morris' Wood Beyond the World (City of Lost Books)

* Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk, pens a beautiful essay on the forbidden wonder of birds' nests and eggs (The Guardian)

* Jeremy Miller finds a new understanding of wilderness in an Irish bog (Orion)

Peter Pan in Kensington Garden by Arthur Rackham

* Naomi Shihab Nye discusses poetry and kindness (BrainPickings)

* David Grossman discusses the Holocaust, empathy, and the importance of literature (The Guardian)

* George Saunders discusses the art storytelling (Aeon video)

* Mary Hofffman discusses fairy tales with Katherine Langrish (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

* Kate Forsyth returns to Beauty & the Beast by way Anne Frank (Kate's blog)

* Meg Roscoff tells us why we still need fairy tales (The Guardian)

Alice in Wonderland by Arthur Rackham

* Robert Minto reviews No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin (New Republic)

* Cally Calloman reviews Folk Song in England by Steve Roud (Caught by the River)

* Jon Wilks interviews Steve Roud, asking: "What is folk music, exactly?" (Grizzly Folk)

* Yaoyao Ma Van As captures the over-looked joys of living alone (My Modern Met)

* John Bedell looks at Leonora Carrington's incredible sculptures (Bensozia)

* Skye Sherman looks at a new exhibition of Käthe Kollwitz’s powerful art (The Guardian)

May Colven by Arthur Rackham

And one more:

My erudite friend and up-the-road neighbor Earl Fontainelle has launched a fascinating podcast series on The Secret History of Western Esotericism, exploring "cutting-edge academic research in the study of Platonism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, the Kabbalah, alchemy, occultism, magic, and related currents of thought."

The first four episodes of the series are online now, and I highly recommend it. 

The Fairies' Tiff with the Birds by Arthur Rackham

The art today is by the great English book illustrator Arthur Rackham, born on this day in south London in 1867. A new exhibition of his work has just opened at the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy.

Undine by Arthur Rackham

Recommended Reading

The Rose Tree Regiment by Lisbeth Zwerger

It's turning into one of Those Days (and probably one of Those Weeks) when a million different things to do are standing between me and studio time. Since I'm unable to sit and post properly right now, may I recommend a few good reads on other sites for your morning dose of inspiration?

The art above is by the wonderful Austrian illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger.  I'll be back in the studio just as soon as I can be.

Recommended Reading

Jeanie Tomanek

Howard and I truly enjoyed last week's Chagford Show, and also the final Widdershins event at Green Hill Arts on Saturday night. But with all this gadding about, I've managed to pick up some kind of stomach bug. I'm hoping it passes quickly and I won't be out of the studio for long.

Jeanie Tomanek

A few reading recommendations for you in the meantime:

W. W. Tarn, The Treasure of the Isle of Mist by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

Sister Act: female friendship in fiction by Alex Clark (The Guardian)

Simplicity or Style: what makes a sentence a masterpiece? by Jenny Davidson (Aeon)

The Race to Save a Dying Language by Ross Perlin (The Guardian)

Encyclopedia Blue, a history of the color by Bernd Brunner (The Smart Set)

Watch Out, Little Red, on wolves in Germany by Bernd Brunner (The Smart Set)

Bird Song Found to Somehow Protect Babies from High Temperatures (The New York Times)

A World Away, So Near by Julian Hoffman (People Need Nature)

Reclaiming Ritual by Lucy Purdy (Positive News)

Recommended listening: Tolkien: The Lost Recordings on BBC Radio 4 (time-limited)

Recommended viewing: Lunette by animator Phoebe Warries on Vimeo (with thanks to Sarah C. Hines & Jennifer Ambrose)

Bedtime Story by Jeanie Tomanek

The paintings today are by Jeanie Tomanek, whose work graced the poster for the "Power of Story" talk. Go here to see more of her luminous art.

The Return by Jeanie TomanekThe poem in the picture captions is from Evening Train by Denise Levertov (New Directions, 1992); all rights reserved by the author's estate.

Myth & Moor update

Nature studies by Beatrix Potter

Summer outside the studio windows

I'm off-line for the rest of the week, taking some "Studio Retreat" time in order to focus entirely on a work-in-progress. Tilly and I will be back next week.

Here's a round-up of recent reading recommendations to leave you with until then:

Sarah Lyall on Robert Macfarlane's "Landmarks" (The New York Times)

Claire Armitstead on Devon poet Alice Oswald (The Guardian)

Paul Kingsnorth on writing about the animate landscape (The Guardian)

Daniel A. Gross on silence (Nautilus), Rubin Naiman on sleep (Aeon), and Sara Lewis on fireflies (Aeon)

The hound lounging in the studio garden

Akilesh Ayyar on different ways of writing a novel (The Millions)

Ramona Ausubel on how to be a writer (Lit Hub)

Amanda Craig on the summer's best children's books (The New Statesman)

Anne Gracie interviews Eva Ibbotson (The Word Wenches)

Rob Maslen on "Children's Fantasy Literature: An Introduction" (The City of Lost Books)


Cat sketch by Beatrix Potter

Charles Vess on illustrating "The Books of Earthsea" by Ursula Le Guin  (

Katherine Langrish on dwarfs, pixies, and the "Little Dark People" (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

Rosemary Hill on Beatrix Potter (London Review of Books)

Glynis Ridley on pioneer botanist Jeanne Baret (The Dangerous Women Project)

Hedgehog sketches by Beatrix Potter

Lily Gurton-Wachter on the literature of motherhood (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Lauren Elkin on female flâneurs  (The Guardian)

Jane Shilling on A.S. Byatt's Peacock & Vine, about William Morris & Mariano Fortuny (The New Statesman)

Kirsty Stonell Walker on Frida Kahlo & Elizabeth Siddal (The Kissed Mouth)

And here's a post of mine on why Internet breaks are important, as I prepare to spend time off-line.


Some recommended viewing:

Kevin Horan's glorious portraits of goats & sheep (The Washington Post)

Charles Fréger's portraits of the afterlife at Japanese folklore festivals (CoDesign)

Some recommended listening:

Syria's Secret Library (BBC Radio 4)

Robert Macfarlane on landscape & language (Radio New Zealand)

Reading ''When Women Rose Rooted'' by Sharon Blackie

Recommended Reading

Reading in the studio garden

A round-up of recent reading, magpie gleanings from hither and yon....

"Beatrix Potter, Enyd Byton, and the 'pictureskew' " by China Miéville (The Guardian)

"John Masefield and British Fantasy of the 1920s" by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

"Irish Fantasy Writers and the Easter Uprising" by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

"Synchrony in Howl's Moving Castle" by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

"Maps of Fantasy Worlds" by Annalee Newitz (Io9)

"Why Do Adults Read YA Fiction?" by Austen Hackney (AH blog)

"Malefice" by Leslie Wilson (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

"Tiny Fairies" by Katherine Langrish (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

"Victorian Fairies and the Early Work of J.R.R. Tolkien" by Dimitra Fimi (Working With English)

"Fairies, Demons, and Ghosts in Shakespeare" by Dimtra Fimi (Oxford University Press blog)

"Wonders of the Northland: Hamlet and Macbeth" by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

"Estella Canziani: Piper of Dreams" by Christina Ruth Johnson (Enchanted Conversations)

"The Frog-King, or Iron Henry" by Mari Ness (

"A Field Guide to Mythic Monsters," reviewed by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)

"Irish Bards Could Kill Rats with Poetry" by John Kelly (Slate)

"Word Obsessive" by Susan Price (Nennius)

"A’ghailleann: On Language-Learning" by Iona Sharma (The Toast)

June idyll

"What the Green Man can teach us" by Paul Kingsnorth (The New Statesman)

"The Nature of Britain" by Elizabeth Yale (Aeon)

"The Palm Trees and the Poetry of W.S. Merwin" by Casey N. Cep (The New Yorker)

"The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson" by Ferris Jabr (The New York Times)

"The Politics of Place: Terry Tempest Williams" (Scott London Interviews)

"Who Owns the Earth?" by Antonia Malchik (Aeon)

"The Songs of the Wolves" by Holly Root-Gutteridge (Aeon)

"A New Origin Story for Dogs" by Ed Yong (The Atlantic)

"The Metamorphosis: What's It Like to Be an Animal?" by Joshua Rothman (The New Yorker)

"Rewilding Human Nature" by Lucy Purdy (Positive News)

"Schooled in Nature" by Jay Griffiths (Aeon)

"Opening Our Eyes to Beauty" by Fiona Reynolds (The Guardian)

"Heartwood," story and art by Jackie Morris (The Tree Charter)

Sunbathing hound

"An Open Letter to the Hat-Wearing Dog from Go Dog, Go" by Raquel D'Apice (Ugly Volvo)

"On the Invisibility of Middle-Aged Women" by Dorthe Nors (Literary Hub)

"Women and Water" by Victoria Leslie (The Dangerous Women Project)

Marina Warner on Angela Carter (Discovering Literature: 20th Century)

"Georgia O'Keefe and Juan Hamilton" by Charlotte Cowles (Harpers Bazaar)

"Borges and $" by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens (Longreads)

"Ray Bradbury: Between Dystopia and Hope" by Patrick West (Spiked Review)

"The Thing With Fathers: The New Poetry of Fatherhood" by Stephen Burt (Boston Review)

"Louise Erdrich: By the Book" (The New York Times)

"Jenny Diski's In Gratitude" by Heidi Julavits (The New York Times)

"Fictional Homes in New York City" by Michelle Colman (CityRealty)

On Laurie Anderson's new film Heart of a Dog by Ryan Gilbey (The New Statesman)

Laurie Anderson on childhood, storytelling and hiding by Paul Holdengraber (Literary Hub)

Maira Kalman on mistakes, optimism, dogs and art by Jessa Gross (Longreads)

First Light A Celebration of Alan Garner

Katherine Langrish on Alan Garner and First Light (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

A conversation with Philip Pullman by Katy Waldman (Slade)

A conversation with Max Porter by Carmen Maria Machado (Electric Literature)

Rebecca Solnit on social change and hope (

Rima Staines calls for a roots revolution (The Hermitage)

Sarah Smarsh on why art is more necessary than ever (On Being)

Samira Thomas in praise of patience (Aeon)

Lin-Manual Miranda's commencement speech at U Penn (Heatstreet)

Stories for creating a more hopeful world by Sita Brahmachari (Guardian Children's Books)

And now a bit of shade

 And some recommended viewing...

"Six Forgotten Female Pioneers of Photography" by Sara Crompton (The Guardian)

"Everday Life in 19th Century Cornwall," photographs (The Guardian)

"Indian's Disappearing Musicians," a photo essay by Souvid Datta (The Guardian)

"The Shinto Onbashira matsuri in Japan," video (Aeon)