Ann Atkinson

Ann Atkinson

Ann Atkinson grew up on Teesside, but lived in the Peak District for over thirty years. She taught Creative Writing in Higher Education, was an editor of Staple for seven years, and was Derbyshire Poet Laureate.

Her poems have appeared in a number of publications including The Nerve, Virago, and Take Five, Shoestring Press.

Ann passed away in 2012.

Read some words from her editors here, her obituary in The Guardian here, and listen to Ian McMillan's tribute on Radio 4 here.


'Ann Atkinson writes wonderfully precise, clear-eyed poems that focus on love and nature, home and world, from the hummingbird moth to the self-immolation of a protesting Buddhist monk, with equal empathy, skill and insight. Her technique is unshowy but sophisticated, and while she is often witty, she is always warm. The craft, art, and humanity of Drawing Water make it a delight to read, and a pleasure I urge you to share with me.' — Ian Duhig

'The poems in Drawing Water are deceptively simple, but are so elegantly, even fastidiously written that they surprise the miraculous within the everyday. The act of walking a chalk line turns into an epiphany of freedom; a vicar playing Sousa marches becomes an epitome of incomprehension; a woman disappears into her allotment and a moth on a Venetian terrace becomes a telling image of independence. Here is an imaginative world distinguished by its humanity and its entrancing, strange familiarity. I read this pamphlet at one sitting – and then read it again.' — Chris McCully

Review of Ann Atkinson’s The Singing & Dancing

in Sabotage Reviews:


The Art room was up its own staircase
over metal and woodwork, at the sea-end
of the oak-panelled school, kept apart
for the hewers of wood and drawers of water
of whom the headmaster spoke,
and who’d never do Latin or Greek.

But there Chalky White taught us to draw
what we see - the light on the windowsill plants,

how roof slates reflect the rhythm of chimneys,
that the sea spits light and swallows it, and colour
is split light, the ambiguous blue of the uplit fret,
grey-green like the moan and low of the foghorn,
calm as a mother’s heart to her unborn,
blissful, like waves breaking, repeating.

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