‘For some reason, slightly unfathomable, I am reminded of a forest we visited on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido where the annual winter ice festival is held. The forest is sprayed for days by the local fire department, but not before flowers and colored lights have been hung within the branches, so when the whole forest turns to crystalline ice, the lights burn from within, the whole crystal forest glows, and when you walk there, flowers look out from the ice, arrested in full bloom. It is all so unexpected, and so extravagantly beautiful — something essential in such crystallization, and with fire in its core. Well, this vision returned to me reading your manuscript.’  Eleanor Wilner


a new collection exploring the fine line between abundance and apocalypse


After Economy is published by and available for purchase from Shearsman Books. Special thanks to Anupa Garnder for the cover image.

Scottish Poetry Library podcast featuring After Economy:

‘This poetry is so physical, it feels like my spinal bones tremble as I read.’ Atzi


JL Williams: expanding dialogue through poetry across languages, perspectives and cultures and in multimodal and cross-form work including explorations in visual art, music, dance, opera and theatre. 


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Books & Projects

After Economy

‘The fifty-six poems of After Economy balance on a wavering tightrope between oblivion, void and humanity. An intriguing unpredictability fills Williams’ poems, as they unfold into sensitive, beautiful musings: “this poem may die some evening in a garden by the sea”. A hallucinatory-feel transcends the confines of familiarity as “I was close enough / to … Continue reading After Economy

Condition of Fire

‘Now I will tell my stories of bodies that change…’ Ovid, Metamorphoses Ovid wrote his famous stories of change just before he was banished from his beloved Rome and after travelling and observing many diverse and vibrant landscapes. He may well have visited and was knowledgeable of the Aeolian Isles where volcanoes cast molten lava into … Continue reading Condition of Fire

House of the Tragic Poet

A pamphlet entitled House of the Tragic Poet, published by Sam Riviere’s If A Leaf Falls Press. These poems came about because I watched a documentary about a house in Pompeii called The House of the Tragic Poet, and wrote a poem about that house. Then that poem disappeared off my computer. I tried everything I could to … Continue reading House of the Tragic Poet

Locust and Marlin

Nominated for the 2014 Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year Award. ‘The slings and arrows of life are challenge enough and Williams celebrates all of our strengths in her poetry. Just as her words are rich with life and love, they’re also critical, and address the harsher blows of living. The poet refuses to … Continue reading Locust and Marlin

Our Real Red Selves

In war and in birth we reveal “our real red selves”, and this volume brings together three poets whose work moves between life and death. Harry Giles’ Drone explores modern warfare and office life. His “drone” is both a remote-control killing-machine and office drudge who is lonely and lacks job satisfaction. Somehow funny and achingly … Continue reading Our Real Red Selves

Snow: The Opera

Read the 4 * review in The Observer here. It was a privilege to write the libretto for the first production by innovative London-based opera company The Opera Story.  Snow is a three-act opera inspired by the story of Snow White that most of us know, but told from a fresh, and darker, perspective. To do this, … Continue reading Snow: The Opera

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JL Williams

After Economy is spellbinding and profound.’ Jane McKie

JL Williams was born in New Jersey and studied at Wellesley College and on the MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Her poetry has been published in journals including The CompassMagmaEdinburgh ReviewPoetry Wales, The Wolf, Shearsman, Fulcrum and Stand.

Williams is particularly interested in expanding dialogues through poetry across languages, perspectives and cultures and in cross-form work, music, visual art, dance, opera and theatre.  She was awarded a grant from the Scottish Arts Council for a poetry collaboration entitled chiaroscuro pentimenti and the Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary from the Scottish Arts Trust.  She was selected for the 2015 Jerwood Opera Writing Programme and for the TRG3 Residency Programme at Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh.

In September 2009 she journeyed to the Aeolian Isles to write a collection inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It is called Condition of Fire and was published by Shearsman Books in 2011.  Her second collection, Locust and Marlin, was published by Shearsman in 2014 and was nominated for the 2014 Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year Award. Our Real Red Selves (Vagabond Poets, 2015), a triptych collection featuring Williams, Harry Giles and Marion McCready, considered themes of war and birth.  House of the Tragic Poet, a sequence of poems inspired by the loss of a poem, was published by Sam Riviere’s If A Leaf Falls Press in 2016. After Economy, a collection exploring the fine line between abundance and apocalypse, was published by Shearsman Books in 2017.

Performer in the poetry and music band Opul with composer and musician James Iremonger, Williams gives regular poetry readings and workshops and is on the Live Literature funded list of Scottish Book Trust Authors.  She has read and performed in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, Cyprus, Canada, Hungary, Romania and the US. She curates poetry events and creates workshops and professional development activities for poets.

Facebook: Jennifer Lynn Williams

Twitter: @jlwpoetry

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