Portraits of Poets - Jean Harrison
Jean was a founder of Settle Sessions in 2013 and a member until her death in 2020.
After retirement Jean took time getting used to North Yorkshire after living in many other places – Kent, Warwick, Ghana, Leeds, Birmingham, Ghana again, Watford and Exeter. She wrote steadily and had work published in a variety of magazines. She has had a poem shortlisted for the Forward Prize, and been commended in several competitions.
Her first collection Junction Road came out in 2009; a second Terrain in 2012. She has also had two novels published On a Wandering Planet and The Fern Hedge. These books are from Cinnamon Press. The Tilt, a recent collection of poems reflecting on the period of time when she was teaching in the newly independent Ghana, is available from Wayleave Press.
Jean's final collection, The Distance Between Us (Naked Eye Publishing) is available online and from bookshops.
The proceeds from this book will be used to maintain the Contemporary Poetry Library at The Folly, Settle, which was founded by the donatation to the Museum of North Craven Life of Jean's extensive personal collection.
Settle to Sheffield –
that’s far enough, I’ll no longer try
to blow my mind by running round,
though I still picture TRAVEL AND SEE, proclaimed
on mini-buses, from bush villages, faces staring out
at traffic lights, government buildings
the way I stared at surf-boats, palms, a woman
skinning an orange with a cutlass,
and thought, them and me, new here
and out there, more
mountains, seas, forests, cities, countries, languages, skills –
learn, understand, be amazed by.
Today I want to sit, or kneel, in a small place –
back garden will do – hold a magnifying glass
close to pock marks on stones,
see the hooks in a bee’s tongue
how long it is, how the insect thrusts it down
its feet on a petal,
record nothing, sit and look,
and this will be the way
I’ll journey into praise.