Scrimshaw, Jean Watkins’ first collection, is named after the carvings made on whale tusks, bones or shells by 19th century sailors and brought home as souvenirs. In turn, her poems explore the creativity of artists and craftsmen throughout human history, as well as benign or savage aspects of the natural world.
“Precise and subtle in their music, the narratives in Scrimshaw build a rich and delicate world of personal feeling and history through the most acute kind of observation.”
“Whether Watkins is championing the artisan (the workers of wood, glass and clay), shining a light on the smallness of the everyday, or turning her keen eye on the natural world, she does so with absolute skill and a deft balance of idea and language. The poems in Scrimshaw are never overplayed: their soft touch aches with absence; they sing with truth and fire.”
Jean Watkins was born in West Yorkshire and now lives in Reading. Her poems have been published in the Sunday Telegraph, Mslexia, Magma, South and many anthologies. Jean was shortlisted in the Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition 2008/09. She reads regularly at Reading’s Poets’ Café and at venues further afield.