‘Understories’ with Whalebone

This is such a wonderful project! I’ve been working with hugely talented band Whalebone for the past 18 months, building a collection of poems and music with them, all focused on telling the new lore of Shropshire. We’re proud to have Arts Council England support.

Here are urban – and rural – myths, and tales just out of living memory.  They are the common uncommon.

Discover Shropshire’s last wolves and cloggers, its haunted roundabouts, pigs, railway lines and long-memoried oak trees, not to mention the boy who burrowed under a church.

Whalebone and I will be offering free daytime performances of Understories between March and July 2019 in Shropshire libraries. Click here to see the Gigs and Tickets page on Whalebone’s website. As well as these gigs, there is a CD featuring 10 new tracks and a poetry pamphlet available with 14 of my poems. These are available to buy at the gigs and from Whalebone’s website right here.

Understories is a delightful, grounded and musical collection of poems that reminds us – through its brightly singing stories – how history is ravelled around memory, community and habitation: that ‘this is living, this is.’ Professor David Morley, winner of the Ted Hughes Award

Jean Atkin gathers her ‘common : uncommon’ hoard of Shropshire stories, memories and folk myths to magick them into strange, beautiful, haunting poems. Atkin’s language is delicate, precise, filmic: she brings worlds together, honouring the dead.  Unsurprisingly, these lilting, imagistic poems are being set to music: they are ideally suited for performance. Spanning the seasons of human life, Understories is a stunning achievement. Pippa Little (Carcanet, Arc)

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