Welcome to the Deep Woods

A space to explore wonder and the edges of our wild creativity.

“All day the stars watch from long ago”

It’s my all-time favourite sentence, written by W. S. Merwin in his poem “Rain Light”. It’s huge and intimate. There’s so much wildness in it.

Merwin defined wildness as everything that is just beyond reach. It’s a beautiful image and it applies also to creativity, which is the act of reaching for something we’re not quite sure is there, something just beyond the edge of the known. I’m a little obsessed with these intertwining themes. Everything in my work orbits around them.

I’ve just published a book about wildness. It’s called Two Lights, which is a reference to twilight, that time of two lights - the light of day and the light of night. It’s when we’re most creative, when we’re most receptive to wonder, the time we’re most connected to the ground beneath our feet and the sky overhead. The book has been long listed for the RSL Ondaatje Prize.

We’re connected over distances, in time and space; to our memories and the evolution of our places and cultures, to the vast community of life which needs us to slow down and pay attention to the little miracles happening all around us.

I write much about nature, about my wild surroundings here in the UK, which is perhaps one of the least wild places on earth, a tiny, intensively farmed and urbanised island, a place where it is utterly impossible to get lost (though I will never stop trying). Our wildernesses here are generally hidden places: tiny abandoned woods overlooking towns and cities; old commons and heaths; streams and stretches of river at the bottom of steep ravines; tangled, hollow lanes. I’ll be writing about these places. There are also wild spaces inside us and I’ll be writing about those too.

As individuals, members of a global community imperilled by its own advancement, we’re now in need of an internal wilding, I believe. We can allow ourselves to be taken over by the creativity of the universe. It requires art and poetry, music and dancing, new practices of the heart, new ways of loving and making. It’s what this space is for. You’re very welcome here.


In 2024 I’ll be working on a new project which explores borders and edges. I live in the Welsh Marches, or Mercia as it was called in ancient times. Both march and Mercia mean the same thing - borderland. It was here that the Saxons migrated to 1500 years ago and began to forge the English language. Their greatest king, Offa, built the largest earthwork on these islands to define and defend his border. Offa’s Dyke still stands, it’s long undulating form following the steep sides of these hills for 60 miles, looking west over the mists and mystery of Wales. The dyke begins here, just above my house, at a place called Rushock Hill.

The project is called Rima, an old Mercian word with many meanings, all related to edges. Our creative practice thrives when we explore the edges of things - of places, of forms, of ideas, of words. All edges are wild. I’ll be travelling along these wild edges and exploring this ancient place, finding stories to tell. I hope you’ll join me.

Who is James Roberts?

I’m a writer and artist, maker, and lover of wild things. I’ve been an editor, art director, designer, animator, dramatist, technologist and all-round creative. I went to art school years ago and have a degree in Industrial Design. I’m a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts. My writing has been published in many literary journals and magazines as well as mainstream publications like National Geographic and The Scotsman. My illustrations have featured on book and magazine covers as well as stage sets. I’ve been interviewed several times on BBC radio as well as for academic institutions. I’ve done many talks and readings at Universities, bookshops and galleries. But none of the above tells you who I am. I’m a father, a son, a husband, a brother and a friend. I love dogs, horses, slow boats, blueberries, clotted cream, Staffordshire oat cakes, hibiscus flowers, the colour teal, crackle glazes and Indian ink. I walk a lot and spend as much time as I can staring at stars, rivers, seas and trees. I can’t imagine living in a world without kingfishers and robins, salmon and lionfish, red admiral butterflies and luna moths. That’s who I am. Good to meet you.

What and when:

  • I’ll be posting weekly - little wanderings and foragings into our creative nature and inner wilds. I’ll be visiting new places, climbing hills, watching birds, following herds of wild ponies.

  • I’ll be sharing new pieces of art, illustrations, and poems.

  • You’ll receive additional long-form posts, videos, and offers on new prints, cards and publications from my micropress.

  • I’ll host occasional discussions on writing and art for the wild, and how best to create and propagate wonder.

Subscribe to Into the Deep Woods with James Roberts

Exploring the edges of wonder and the wild


My work explores wonder, wildness and the creative life. Recent writing has appeared in National Geographic and The Scotsman. My non-fiction book, Two Lights, was published in 2023 and has been long listed for the RSL Ondaatje Prize.