Tag Archives: chrissy williams

Kendal Poetry Festival

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Kendal Poetry Festival

I’ve been a bit quiet on here recently – but just wanted to draw your attention to one of the things I’ve been getting on with while I’ve been away.  Last year, Pauline Yarwood and I decided to set up a poetry festival (as you do) from scratch.   Kendal Poetry Festival took place at Abbot Hall Art Gallery and was a great success.  We decided to do it again this year, and we’ve been awarded funding from the Arts Council, the Hadfield Trust and the Sir John Fisher Foundation.

Tickets have been available for a couple of weeks now and sales are going well.  We’ve decided to offer 10% off 5 or more tickets bought before May 6th, so if you’d like to come, and want a bit of a discount, head over to the Kendal Poetry Festival website to have a look at the programme.

Our Festival Dream Team of poets include Jack Mapanje, Hannah Lowe, William Letford, Inua Ellams, Chrissy Williams, Malika Booker, Katrina Naomi, Kathryn Maris, Tim Liardet, Ian Duhig and Linda Gregerson.

I will be writing blogs for the Kendal Poetry Festival website in the run up to the festival, but this year I have a Young Blogger-in-Residence to help me.  Hannah Hodgson will be conducting a series of ‘Five Minutes with….’ interviews with many of our Festival Poets.

The first one, with the lovely Chrissy Williams is already up at the Kendal Poetry Festival blog page.  As well as the short interview, Chrissy has also sent us a poem from her forthcoming Bloodaxe collection Bear.

I hope you enjoy having a look around!

 

Sunday Poem – Chrissy Williams

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Evening folks.  I am so excited about my Sunday Poem this week that I can hardly bear to tell you any other news – then again, I haven’t got that much so that is ok!

On Friday I read at the Brewery Arts Centre with Gill Nicholson and Mark Carson – two lovely poet friends, who I realised as I got up to do my set, were at the first writing group I ever went to, so have the dubious honour of being some of the first people to ever see one of my poems.  So this is all their fault, I think! Anyway, they were lovely and encouraging to me, so it was wonderful to read alongside them on Friday.

Pauline Yarwood, another lovely poet-friend was the MC for the night, and she did a great job – her introductions were warm and generous and full of enthusiasm for poetry, real enthusiasm, which as we all know is contagious and is what we need more of in the world.

I read some new poems and broke out from my usual set that I do from the pamphlet, which was both scary and liberating.  Reading from the pamphlet is like putting on a pair of comfy shoes – I do the same poems in the same order – but Friday’s reading made me realise that it is ok to shake it up a little bit!

I have had a great week for selling books – I sold six on Thursday in Carlisle and the bookshop took five to sell, which I am very grateful for as it is hard to get my poor spineless pamphlets onto a shelf, and I sold six on Friday in Kendal and then two through my lovely paypal button on this blog this week which takes my grand total to 406 copies sold!  Da da!  I’ll let you all know again when/if I get to 500…..

But! Off this unimportant stuff – and lets face it – it is not that important really – not compared to finding a poem that makes you wish you had written it – that makes you read and re-read it to get to the heart of it, and then realise you won’t get to the heart of it, and that’s kind of the point…and I have such a poem as my Sunday poem this week!

When I was shortlisted for the Michael Marks a week or so ago, it jolted me into ordering some pamphlets that I’ve been meaning to order for ages.  One of the other shortlisted poets was Chrissy Williams with her Happenstance pamphlet ‘Flying into the Bear’.  I read the first poem, and became a bit besotted with it.  Maybe it is because that bears slip in and out of Chrissy’s poems in the same way wolves lurk at the edges of mine – but it also has something to do with the beautiful language and the inner logic of the poem that holds it together against the more rational logic of the outside world.

I feel I’m gushing too much, so I’m going to stop as I will be meeting Chrissy soon at the Michael Marks Awards and I don’t want her to think she has a crazy stalker – but you should really order the pamphlet – it’s exciting stuff.  Some of it is bonkers – in a good way.  There are a few bear poems – there are a few strangely shaped poems – this is not a pamphlet which will bore you – you will be entertained from cover to cover, I promise.  An extra bonus – there is also a comic to go with this poem here: http://chrissywilliams.blogspot.co.uk/p/poems.html

Chrissy Williams lives in London and works at the Poetry Library and is half-Italian.  She is also joint organiser of the annual Free Verse Poetry Book Fair and has been published in various poetry magazines and anthologies.  You can order ‘Flying with the Bear at http://www.happenstancepress.com

I hope you enjoy – let me know what you think!

The Bear of the Artist – Chrissy Williams

I asked the artist to draw me a heart and instead he drew a bear.

I asked him, ‘What kind of heart is this?’ and he said, ‘It’s not

a heart at all.’

I asked him, ‘What kind of bear is this?’ and he said, ‘It’s not

a bear either.’

I asked him, ‘What kind of artist are you anyway?’ and he said,

‘I am the one who exists to put bears in your head, who exists

to put ideas in your head in place of bears, who mistrusts anyone

who tells you they know what kind of place the heart is,

the head, how it should look, what size, what stopping distance,

and as long as you keep me existing to put bears in your head

I will, because nights are getting shorter, and we’re all tired,

we’re all so tired, and everyone could use a bear sometimes,

everyone could use a wild bear, though they can be dangerous

and there’s nothing worse than a bear in the face, when it breaks

—always—remember how your bear breaks down

against the shore, the shore, the shore.’