I enjoyed this sold out Edinburgh International Book Festival Nothing but The Poem session so much — especially hearing the participants take turns reading out all 90 haiku that make up the grand sequence “90 Instant Messages to Tom Moore” in Paul Muldoon’s collection Horse Latitudes. I’m not sure we got to the bottom of it all, but we did have a great conversation about whether there are other ways to explore poetry than in pursuit of straight-up, in your face ‘meaning’, such as how it makes you feel, what images the poems paint in your mind, and what sparks and connections the words, images and sounds trigger in your chemical brain. We talked about whether it’s possible to become more comfortable with the unknown via poetry. And about whether you can approach a poem the way you would view a piece of abstract art. And plenty more! Thanks to Paul Muldoon for his gorgeous poems that made us think and thanks to the participants for their generosity of spirit, curiosity and beautiful readings.
Books by JL Williams include Condition of Fire (Shearsman, 2011), Locust and Marlin (Shearsman, 2014), House of the Tragic Poet (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016), After Economy (Shearsman, 2017) and Origin (Shearsman, 2022). Published widely in journals, her poetry has been translated into numerous languages. She has read at international literature festivals and venues in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, Cyprus, Canada, Hungary, Romania, Montenegro and the US. She wrote the libretto for the opera Snow which debuted in London in 2017, was awarded a bursary to develop a new opera with composer Samantha Fernando at the Royal Opera House and was a librettist for the award-winning 2020 covid-response Episodes project by The Opera Story. Williams curates writing events and creates workshops and professional development activities for poets. She is hopeful about the simple and mysterious power of poetry that allows us to know ourselves, each other and the world more deeply.View all of jlwpoetry's posts.