Poetry & Lockdown (ONLINE)

Featuring Daniel Sluman, Mab Jones, Hannah Hodgson & Polly Atkin

Date: wednesday 20th July
Time: 19:00
Venue: Zoom
Price: Free

This event will include BSL interpretation

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. In its Old English roots, to be well was to be in good fortune, to be happy, to be satisfied.

In this event Daniel Sluman, Mab Jones, Hannah Hodgson and Polly Atkin question what wellness in all its iterations has meant to them in times of isolation and illness, and how wellness relates to creativity. Can poetry be a meditative activity that is part of a wider wellness, whether that is bodily or mental health, or happiness? Through their poems and conversation they will reflect on lockdown and the ongoing pandemic, on who gets the space, opportunity, and currency to pursue wellness, and on what happens if due to disability or illness some of the aspects of the pursuit of wellness are unattainable.

For Daniel, the isolation of lockdown meant his writing became more personal and more unflinching about some aspects of my life he might otherwise have chosen to look away from, becoming more focused more on his core daily experience and internal feelings.  Mab wil describe how the isolation of lockdown meant her inner observer and hermit-self came to the fore, and wellness was pushed aside as her attention turned towards the outer world she could no longer engage with. Wellness, in particular self-regulation and self-care, later became important as her health failed. For Polly, lockdown presented a shift in focus, as her world narrowed down to a few miles around her home, and creativity became distracting play from everything beyond. Debut writer Hannah will also talk about the problems and possibilities of lockdown. 

This event will include BSL interpretation


Daniel Sluman is a 35-year-old poet and disability rights activist. He co-edited the first major UK Disability poetry anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, and he has published three poetry collections with Nine Arches Press. His most recent collection, single window was released in September 2021, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Photo credit: Naomi Woddis.

Mab Jones is a poet and freelance writer from Wales. Mab is the winner of many awards including the John Tripp Spoken Poetry Audience Prize, the Neil Gaiman Word Factory Short Story Competition, the Aurora Poetry Competition, the Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize, and the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and a Creative Wales Award, one of the country’s highest arts honours. She has published two collections Poor Queen (Burning Eye Books) and take your experience and peel it (Indigo Dreams) as well as several pamphlets. A new collection Yubitsume is due out with Indigo Dreams in 2022.

Hannah Hodgson is a poet living with life limiting illness meaning she is a palliative care and hospice user. Her work has been published by BBC Arts, The Poetry Society and Magma, amongst other outlets. She is a 2021 winner of the Poetry Business New Poets Prize. She is a recipient of a 2020 Northern Writers Award for Poetry. Hannah has worked with both NHS England on policy guidance and the charity Together for Short Lives. She has spoken with MPs on her experience of the NHS, as well as The Royal Society of GPs. In recognition of her activism Hannah received a prestigious Diana Award in 2021, given in the name of Diana, Princess of Wales. In December 2021, she was awarded the honour of a Diana Legacy Award in further recognition for her campaign work. Her debut collection 163 Days was published by Seren in March 2022.

Polly Atkin is a poet and nonfiction writer, living in the English Lake District. Her first poetry collection Basic Nest Architecture (Seren, 2017) is followed by Much With Body (Seren, 2021), supported a 2020 Northern Writers Award. Her biography Recovering Dorothy: The Hidden Life of Dorothy Wordsworth (Saraband, 2021) is the first to focus on Dorothy’s later life and illness. She is working on a memoir exploring place, belonging and disability. Photo credit: Will Smith.