‘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)


Poems for the Farm – a Last Hurrah!

Photo: Andrew Fusek Peters
Photo: Andrew Fusek Peters

Everyone is invited to Poems for the Farm to celebrate the conclusion of Acton Scott’s 2014 Poet in Residence project with Jean Atkin (supported by Arts Council England and Shropshire Council).  Poems for the Farm is on Saturday 19 July at 3pm at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm SY6 6QN.

Poets who contributed to the project will also be reading, plus a chance to see some of Andrew Fusek Peters‘ beautiful photographs.  If you’ve been to Acton Scott recently, and written a poem with Jean, or for the project – then please do get in touch.  We would love to see you on the 19th – and if you like you can read your poem out too.

 The event is free (hooray!) but please book your place (to be on the list for a free cream tea! To book sign up to this FB event or ring Acton Scott on 01694 781307 or email jean [at]wordsparks.co.uk

Come and hear poetry from many voices!

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