Rachel Bower is a Poet and Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Leeds, and Sheffield resident. She’s the award-winning author of 2 books including Moon Milk, her collection of poetry, and has been published widely in literary journals and magazines. Rachel is a lynchpin of the Yorkshire poetry scene, running workshops across the region, and with a passion for all things wild, women and community. Rachel has played a huge role in shaping our Collections in Verse work in Sheffield, sharing knowledge about the area and its people, and her incredible new commission has collected stories from local women to create an epic song telling the story of what is loved, treasured and lost.

Digesting History has been created as part of Collections in Verse, a collaboration between Poet in the City, the British Library and Sheffield Libraries using poetry events and commissions to bring British Library exhibitions to life in four cities across the UK. The work in Sheffield was inspired by the British Library’s sold-out exhibition Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War.

Commissioned by Poet in the City and British Library for Collections in Verse 2021 ©

In preparing this project, we have, as is common, called this period of history Anglo-Saxon. However, on the point of presentation we have become aware of a conversation that challenges that terminology as racist and prefers Early Medieval. We used the term Anglo-Saxon in good faith and welcome further conversations and discussions for future projects. The continual need to re-examine history and language is at the core of Poet in the City's collaborations.