Polly Atkin lives in Grasmere. She grew up in Nottingham, then lived in East London for seven years before moving North West.

Polly walks into the lake in a green velvet dress under a stormy sky
Photo by John Shedwick

She writes poetry and nonfiction.

Her debut collection of poetry Basic Nest Architecture was published in February 2017 by Seren, which was followed in October 2021 by her second collection Much With Body, supported by a 2020 Northern Writers Award. Her first nonfiction book, Recovering Dorothy: The Hidden Life of Dorothy Wordsworth, which explores Dorothy’s later life and disability, was published by Saraband in November 2021.

She has also written a hybrid memoir exploring place, belonging and chronic illness, supported by the second year of the Penguin Random House WriteNow scheme.

Her doctorate on Romantic legacies and the Lake District was conducted under the AHRC Landscape and Environment project, in collaboration with The Wordsworth Trust and Lancaster University. She has taught English and Creative Writing at QMUL, Lancaster University, and the Universities of Strathclyde and Cumbria.


In 2014 she was diagnosed with one of the  Ehlers Danlos Syndromes (EDS) – hereditary connective tissue disorders. In 2015 she was also diagnosed with Genetic Haemochromatosis, a hereditary metabolic disorder which leads to a toxic accumulation of iron in the body. See Being Mutant for more on both conditions and her experience of living with them.


15 thoughts on “About

  1. you gona send me a pamphlet – i was wanting to show my students a few different styles and types – tried Lancaster uni but my email never got through….hows life up in the sticks?? NR x

    1. Neil! Sorry have been in a pit of non-response … heard you’re coming up at weekend? Will give you one then if so, if not, send me your address & I’ll post one x

  2. Hi Polly
    Many thanks for the fireside poetry evening at Dove Cottage on Thursday. Both David and I really enjoyed it. We thought the seasonal theme and poetry selection were excellent and the setting was very atmospheric. You were great too and already we feel enthused about poetry! See you at the next session.
    Thanks again,
    Louise Sykes

  3. Hello Polly… I just found your page while googling EDS and HH. I have both as well. I also have a degree in English Lit and love poetry. Interesting, no?
    Looking forward to working my way through your site.
    Your kindred spirit from Canada,
    Laura Wood

    1. How amazing! Maybe we’re living parallel lives. We should have a group for bendy-rusties. I think there’s another person in the UK HH group who has both too. I wonder if there are more of us? Would be great to have more advice on negotiating both, wouldn’t it? Hope you are doing as well as you can be,
      Greetings from a house full of Canadian lit in the UK!
      Polly x

      1. Hi Polly-

        Just as the person above I found your page while googling EDS and HH. I also have both! I wonder about the correlation and how many of us are out there! Was just diagnosed with EDS last week. Always thought I was really talented and disciplined with yoga but turns out I just have stretchy-syndrome.

        Anyways– hope you are well and safe.


  4. Dear Polly, I thought your reading at the Poetry Carousel was brilliant. I have read your recent poems online about your battles with illness and they really strike a chord with me. I wish you loads of luck for 2018. Kitty x

  5. Would you be interested in taking part in a series of interviews with poets and flash fiction writers that I will put on my WordPress, Twitter and Facebook accounts? It can take the form of either a list of questions you can take away and complete, then e-mail back to me or a more fluid conversation via messenger or email. Your choice.

      1. Hi Kitty, sorry – that comment wasn’t from me – it was from someone else and I’d missed it so just approved it – it had been accidentally sitting in spam!

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