Writing Through Crises with Polly Atkin

Polly Atkin: Noticing small pockets of joy: writing through crises

Wednesday 17th May
18:00 – 20:00

Event Description 

This workshop will look at how writers try to find joy even in the midst of crises – personal, political, and global – drawing on Leila Chatti’s mantra of ‘trying to notice joy’, disabled activist and writer Keah Brown’s practice of finding ‘openings for small pockets of joy’ in every day, and Barbellion Prize-winner Letty McHugh’s depiction of ‘saving up tiny joys the way a bear fattens up for the coming winter’. We’ll think about hope, attention to the world around us, and joy, even in the worst of times, looking at poems that address climate emergency, disability, apocalyptic vision, and catastrophe, and yet find love and joy in their worlds, enough to continue fighting for continuance.

Using these poems as touchstones, we will explore how a poem can help us access the world in new way, how it can balance the call to lament and the call to praise, and how a poem may be part of the process of noticing joy. From these examples, we will develop our own poems as stores of small joys. 

Polly Atkin (FRSL) is a poet and nonfiction writer, living in the Lake District. She has published three poetry pamphlets – bone song (Aussteiger, 2008), Shadow Dispatches (Seren, 2013) and With Invisible Rain (New Walk: 2018) – and two collections – Basic Nest Architecture (Seren: 2017) and Much With Body (Seren, 2021) – a PBS Winter 2021 recommendation and Laurel Prize longlistee. Her biography Recovering Dorothy: The Hidden Life of Dorothy Wordsworth (Saraband, 2021), is the first to focus on Dorothy’s later life and illness, and was longlisted for the 2022 Barbellion Prize. Her memoir exploring place, belonging and disability, Some Of Us Just Fall, will be published by Sceptre in summer 2023.

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