JEAN ATKIN in study 2015 credit L Greatorex (2)
This race of meltwater,
sweet talker, springs growth
from the winter
bed of the wood

I’m a poet, writer and experienced educator, based in Shropshire. I’ve worked on a variety of residencies in both England and Scotland and provide workshops and readings to schools, festivals and community and national organisations. I often work in collaboration with arts and community projects – I’ve just been Poet in Residence for Wem Town Hall, and I’m also Poet in Residence for Hargate Primary School in West Bromwich.  In 2020, because of the pandemic, I created The Poetry Wire, a website for sharing work within a small closed group for whom I write regular prompts, and provide detailed feedback.  Once a week we meet for a social readaround on Zoom.  The Poetry Wire has now run six sold-out courses with more planned for 2021.  I’ve really enjoyed this way of working, and met so many warm and talented poets.

In 2019 I was Troubadour of the Hills for Ledbury Poetry Festival, and National Poetry Day’s BBC Poet for Shropshire – for which I wrote a commissioned poem for the county.  It turned out that Shropshire has harboured many unexpected elephants.  You can read the poem, watch it and hear it here.   I also make poetry in health and wellbeing contexts, including Social Prescription, and am experienced in working with the very elderly, and people living with dementia.  I like to work in collaboration with other artists and organisations when the opportunity arises.
For seven years I organised The Poetry Lounge, Ludlow’s spoken word night, but since moving up the road to Shrewsbury, I’m now working with Shrewsbury Poetry Night.

I provide ‘poetry-theatre’ as The Spellwright for festivals and events: Spells Written To Your Requirements Without Delay.  I’ve done spells for growing wings, for opening locked doors, for persuading an owl to speak, for invisibility – and many more.

I mentor emerging poets, lead online poetry courses and work regularly with children and young people, often through Writing West Midlands – for seven years I worked as a lead writer for Spark Young Writers.  With all this going on, I’ve found it vital to be a professional member of NAWE and have an enhanced DBS certificate.

My latest book is Fan-peckled (Fair Acre Press, 2021) in collaboration with artist/illustrator Katy Alston.  My second collection, How Time is in Fields was published in spring 2019 by Indigo Dreams Publishing, and launched at Cheltenham Poetry Festival.  I’ve previously published Not Lost Since Last Time with Oversteps Books (2013), pamphlets with Roncadora Press, Ravenglass Press and Biscuit Tin Press, and a children’s novel, The Crow House.  And I have a taxidermied Crow, who comes to workshops with me.

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