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Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

 Understories - Whalebone & Jean Atkin

'Understories’ is a brush with the new folklore of Shropshire.  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 oak trees, not to mention the boy who burrowed under a church. 

Whalebone and Jean Atkin will be offering free daytime performances of Understories between March and July 2019 in Shropshire libraries. Details will be on the Gigs and Tickets page of this website. As well as these gigs, there is a CD featuring 10 new tracks and a poetry book available with 14 of Jean's poems (see below).

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.’ 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)


Understories - Whalebone & Jean Atkin



Understories is available as a CD and an A5 poetry book

To order please select which option you'd like from the drop down list above

Postage and packaging for a single item is £1.50 to mainland UK addresses only

Please allow 2-5 working days for delivery

For Postal Orders:

Please send a cheque for the amount plus £1.50 P&P made payable to 'S. Downs'. The address is on the 'Contact' page.

Tell us your Shropshire Understories!

As part of the Understories project, we are seeking out new stories that are just within (and sometimes just outside) living memory.  So far, we’ve sourced the stories that became the poems, and then became the music, through word of mouth, from parish magazines, from local history booklets.  We’re still looking for new Shropshire stories – please do get in touch and share yours with us! FEEDBACK PAGE