Poetry Cafe & Open Mic - Jean Atkin, Colin Wells, 2019 Slam Winner & Gerald Kells, 2020 Slam Winner

Sunday, 28th November 2021, 13:00 - 14:30

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Date & Time

Sunday, 28th November 2021

13:00 - 14:30


The Hive
5 Belmont


Poetry Cafe & Open Mic - Jean Atkin, Colin Wells, 2019 Slam Winner & Gerald Kells, 2020 Slam Winner

About this event

Join us for SFL 2021's Poetry Cafe featuring Shropshire poet, Jean Atkin and the 2019 and 2020 Poetry Slam winners, Colin Wells and Gerald Kells.


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

Old Shropshire words are the inspiration for the twelve poems in Jean’s latest work, Fan-peckled, which celebrate the county, its language and its strong sense of place. Each of the words and phrases featured were discovered in the marvellously obscure ‘Shropshire Word-Book’, published in Shrewsbury in 1879. ‘Fan-peckled’ just means ‘freckled’ and was collected in Wem and Whitchurch. Each word or phrase in the Word-Book is translated into Standard English, and given a provenance to show where it was collected, long ago in the 1870s.  So from Bishop’s Castle comes ‘shalligonaked’, from Wellington ‘noon-spell’ and from Much Wenlock, ‘barley-child’.

‘Jean Atkin uses her knowledge of English nature poetry with confident skill, weaving its echoes together with the old country words to create rich, evocative poems.  To read them out loud, and to hear these lost words speak again, is pure pleasure.’

Annie Fisher, The Sphinx, June 2021


Colin writes articles for magazines, and scripts for comedians and business speakers, including himself, and has worked at the BBC, Granada Television, The Other Place@The RSC, Disneyland Europe, ICC, NEC and many other locations worldwide. 

Colin has a First-Class Honours in English Language, Literature and Creative Writing. He writes and performs – often about topical subjects.  He's a regular performer at open mics, festivals and clubs, and is a multiple poetry slam finalist and winner.


Gerald Kells is a poet and writer based in Walsall. He reads his poetry across the Midlands and the Internet. He has won several poetry slams and featured at the Freeverse Festival in Brownhills. He has had a number of poems and stories published in anthologies and magazines, most recently haikus in several editions of Seashores and stories and poems in ‘Geography is Irrelevant’ a lockdown collection.  He has self-published a short collection: ‘LI - 51 Poems’.

In 2018 he helped organise an Arts Poetry Reading at the internationally renowned Walsall Art Gallery and was involved in 2019 in the PoArtry Project in Stourbridge which led to publishing an Ekphrastic collection, ‘Nine Etchings’ with artist, Fran Wilde.  His story, ‘Something to his Left’, was published in Twisted Little Sister and ‘Stone Walls’ in Coffin Bell 3. His young adult novel, The Net Mender’s Son’, is available as an e-book and his novel ‘The Floating Child’ was long-listed for Cornerstones Wowfactor award. 

His short plays have been performed around England. His full-length play, ‘The e-mail history of Josef K, was long-listed for the Bruntwood Prize at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre.  

He is a keen hill walker and conservationist. He was awarded Green Leader Status by Sustainability West Midlands for his work as a champion of environmental protection.


This year the SFL Poetry Cafe will also feature an Open Mic slot.  If you would like one of the places, please email us on