A New Collaboration

I’ve been busy, and written some poems, the wonderful Katy Alston is creating illustrations around them, and the equally wonderful Fair Acre Press will publish our pamphlet in early summer 2021!

The pamphlet is ‘Fan-peckled’ – which in old Shropshire dialect means ‘freckled’. The twelve poems are all built on dialect words and phrases from ’The Shropshire Word-Book, A Glossary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Etc., Used in the County’ by Georgina F. Jackson.  It was first published 1879 by Adnitt &  Naunton of Shrewsbury, and a rare facsimile copy was tracked down by my intrepid partner as my Christmas present in 2019.

I was entranced by the Shropshire Word-Book, which is arranged alphabetically. Each word or phrase is listed with its phonetic pronunciation, its meaning and use, and also its provenance. So entries look like this:

It was very hard to choose twelve words – but I did, and here they are: Shalligonaked; Talking to Mommets; Fan-peckled; Lady-with-the-ten-flounces; Barley-child; Glid; Buts and Feerings; Noonspell, Keffel; Clicket; Geoltitudes, and a Corve of Oddlings.

Here’s Katy Alston’s illustration for the title poem, ‘Fan-peckled’. The word was collected from Wem, and Whitchurch.

And here’s a short extract from the poem that goes with this picture –

Then morning fetched a dot-dance in the woods
of deckled oak leaves and the bee-pad
footfalls, pollen-tickled, in the foxglove.
There was a seven spot ladybird
drawn with a pen, who uncased
crinkled wings to fly at the sun.

And here’s an illustration for ‘Talking to Mommets’ – which means, ‘self-communing in low-toned speech’ and was collected from Pulverbatch.

'Mister Ambler's in the ivy nave, and thinks he is alone.
He's looking at our old bronze bells, long-fallen into mud.
Their mouths are full of leaves...'

I'll keep you posted!


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