Hail of Bright Stones

A couple of performances coming up, please come along if you are free! Images & Words: A Double Bill, Manipulate Festival, Saturday 9th February, Traverse Theatre, 6pm You'll get to hear Hail of Bright Stones, the new version of James' and my poetry and music band, Opul, and see some amazing footage by the scientist [...]

12, a collective of women writers

12, a collective of women writers, has a website! You can read more about the women involved and the project here.

2019 Part 2

I am writing! Seeing the 2018 successes of poets I have met including Vahni Capildeo, Richard Scott and Sophie Collins, both published by Faber this past year, Lila Matsumoto whose Urn & Drum came out with Shearsman, Iain Morrison's I'm a Pretty Circler and Samantha Walton's Self Heal, Alice Tarbuck's Grid from Sad Press, Annie [...]

2019 Part 1

How we spent the holidays... usually with the electric blanket on 6! It has been a strange holiday time as my partner came down with a severe case of shingles which meant we spent a lot of time in various hospitals and in deep recovery mode in bed with the electric blanket blasting, however it [...]

Birthday Rainbow Rainbow

Thank you for all the beautiful birthday wishes, it means a lot! I have taken this whole week off to enjoy relaxing and fun birthday adventures (all birthday celebrations should last at least a week). Here are some in case you want to join me: Reading with the brilliant Nadine Aisha Jassat, Tom Pow and - [...]

land of black mountains

it seems like ages ago now but just a few weeks ago i was on a mountaintop in the north of Montenegro! (where is that, one person asked me... i know, i know, i had to look it up). well it is here, just start at Rome, cross Italy and drift across the Adriatic Sea [...]

i can call it a notebook

sunny sunny afternoon in October and he comes in saying 'it's so nice and shiny' i was perusing the website of the lovely Lucy Cash recently and discovered that she seems to have called her blog page 'notebook', i love this idea and am going to borrow it, i hope she doesn't mind something about thinking [...]

dhamma moon

Delighted to have a few new poems up at dhamma moon. It has been such a revelation to have my poems read by the monk-editors of this publication and to receive their exquisitely thoughtful and complex responses.     This morning the sea mist had disappeared everything... it was wonderful to be so enveloped while [...]

StAnza Workshop: Between Worlds

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with curators at MUSA, the Museum of the University of St Andrews, to lead a writing workshop for this year's StAnza Poetry Festival on writing between worlds, in response to ritual masks and portraits in the collection. A brilliant group of writers gathered and we explored art, [...]

Music, Poetry and Creative Learning

The Festival of Creative Learning is just about to kick off and we are bouncing with excitement as we have over 130 extraordinary events taking place across the University. I will be going to a witchcraft spell zine creating workshop, AI film screenings, an introduction to contemporary circus, an event exploring the refugee crisis through [...]

Creative Conversations

I'm so pleased to be joining Colin Herd for the Creative Conversations event at the University Chapel at the University of Glasgow tomorrow (Monday 22 January). Colin has been such a supportive and brilliant friend, poet, editor and curator for many years and someone I enjoy talking with about poetry and the world, so it [...]

Readings in December

I have the pleasure of reading twice in early December, and my mother will be visiting from America which is very exciting. She never gets to see me read, so it will be a chance to share that part of my life with her. Please do join us at either or both of these events [...]

Review of After Economy by Penny Boxall

So grateful for this beautiful review of After Economy by Penny Boxall in The Compass: If Burns’s collection is like the soothing chatter of grownups, the voices in J. L. Williams’s After Economy are more akin to the half-heard voices of dreams – compelling, disorientating, moreish – leaving you, on waking, wondering what just happened. The [...]

Adjacent Pineapple

I had such a nice time reading at Colin Herd's new/old night Snack Revenge a couple weeks back (more details here), and really enjoyed meeting and hearing the forceful, crackling work of the poet Judith Goldman. Sadly, the marvellous Terese Svoboda wasn't able to make it, but we had a full house in the room [...]

EIBF Live Poetry Lab

I had such fun at the Edinburgh International Book Festival today, writing in a tent on George Square for three hours as part of the Live Poetry Lab. A number of nice folks dropped in to share their festival memories with me, and we had intriguing conversations about the history and politics of the festivals [...]

August in Edinburgh

It's August in Edinburgh! There's so much that is marvellous on offer, how can one choose? I'm already mourning my missing of the PJ Harvey gig, which I hear was life changing. Still to come: a few readings which it would be brilliant to see you at... I have the pleasure of reading at the [...]

Drown Not Wee Blossom

Happy Thursday! Here in Edinburgh we're swimming through the streets thanks to this day of rain, but I'm appreciating it because someone was just telling me that in Ibiza there are no rivers anymore because there is no rainfall... is that true? Anyway, it makes me feel lucky to be in a place where there [...]

Poetry Book Society Summer Selections 2017

What a delight to receive an email from my former colleague at the Scottish Poetry Library, dear Emily Prince, with this in it: What lovely words! And what an honour to find out that After Economy is one of the books chosen for the PBS Summer Selections 2017. I hope these poems will make some enjoyable [...]

Master Class: Poetry & Creative Learning with the MasterCard Scholars

Festival of Creative Learning

Upile

I’ve been delivering writing workshops for a long time now, most regularly at the Scottish Poetry Library to people who, though at various points in their writing careers, have poetry on the brain. Since starting as Projects and Engagement Coordinator for the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), it has been interesting to think about how my skills as a writer and writing teacher could be of use in my new work which has the wider focus of encouraging and exploring creative learning, innovation and collaboration across the University of Edinburgh.

One of my early meetings after starting here was with Johanna Holtan who used to run the Festival of Creative Learning which I now look after. She is a powerhouse and the job she has moved on to is running the University’s MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme, which ‘supports the brightest and best African scholars with great potential but few…

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After Economy, London Reading

I'll be reading from After Economy this Tuesday, 9 May, in London at the Shearsman Reading Series, Swedenborg Hall, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH. It starts at 7.30pm. I'm very honoured to be reading with Josephine Balmer, Alice Kavounas, and special guest, Yang Lian.   More details are available here and here. Please come along if you're in town.

The New Life

My dear friend and mentor Robyn Marsack sent me the most exquisite gift the other day. She said it was a present that she had been planning to give me on the evening of my book launch, but thought I might like to be able to wear it on the night... which I very much [...]

A Visit to a Land of Sea and Song: Poetry on North Uist

It was such a delight to spend a few days on North Uist with the poet Pauline Prior-Pitt at the end of March. She kindly invited me to visit her and the writing group she nurtures at the Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre. Thanks to support from the Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature Fund, I was [...]

YOU ARE THE FIRE

I'm running a poetry workshop on Monday for some amazing students on the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh. We'll be responding to the work of Upile Chisala, following on from a recent visit she made to read for the students. I'm feeling very inspired by Upile's fire! Also coming up: VINEBOX I'm super excited [...]

AFTER ECONOMY Launch

AFTER ECONOMY a new collection exploring the fine line between abundance and apocalypse Out now! Get your copy here, and book here for the After Economy Edinburgh launch at Talbot Rice Gallery. More details below. It would be lovely to see you there. After Economy | JL Williams Book Launch Talbot Rice Gallery 3 May 2017 [...]

Word Up

I've been meaning to post links to all these nice blogs and articles that have come in over the past few months and haven't had time, so I thought I would do a round up. A lovely blog by translator and poet Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese about the Polish translation workshop with poet Wojciech Bonowicz that took place at the Scottish [...]

A Libretto Comes to Life

I’ve always been interested in collaborative art forms. Some of my very early and most joyful memories are of being taken by my wonderful mother, grandmother and uncle to see plays, musicals and ballet. The magic of words, music and movement coming together to stupendous effect at these performances has continued to inspire me throughout [...]

Festival of Creative Learning

This post went out last week on our blog at the Festival of Creative Learning and I thought I would share it here as well. Hope you enjoy and to see you at a Festival event if you can make it along. It’s just over two months since I started as Projects and Engagement Coordinator [...]

Between poles and tides at Talbot Rice Gallery

For some time now, I have had the pleasure of being one of the TRG3 residents at Talbot Rice Gallery with my dear friend, the artist Catherine Street.  We have had an amazing time responding to recent exhibitions, including Alice Neel: The Subject and Me and the British Art Show 8. I was delighted to have [...]

Ithakas

This is a piece I was asked to write for the Poetry Reader when I was leaving the Scottish Poetry Library, and then due to various complications it wasn't able to be published there, so I thought it would be nice to include here. Ithakas Toward the end of my interview for the job of [...]

content work produce form

It was a great joy to be asked to curate a group writing project for Sophia Hao, curator at Cooper Gallery in Dundee, for their amazing International Symposium: 12-Hour Action Group. I asked 11 women to write with me in a shared Google document over a few months at the end of 2016, and we produced poetic [...]

Flint & Pitch plus 12-Hour Action Group

Hello there! So much has been happening, and is happening... here are details and invitations for you: I finished up at the Scottish Poetry Library in November and will be starting at my new job as Projects and Engagement Coordinator for the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh next week - exciting! [...]

Flint & Pitch

I'm honoured and delighted to have been asked to be part of the second ever Flint & Pitch Revue at the Bongo Club on 2 December... what a line up, what a treat!  More details here.

A unique poetry festival taking place at venues across the City of Glasgow from September – November 2016.

A festival of outside and subterranean poetry Source: A unique poetry festival taking place at venues across the City of Glasgow from September – November 2016.

Otata, The Temples and The Three Cities

I have been lucky to have been travelling quite a bit lately - I am actually writing this from the Dostoevsky Library in Moscow where, thanks to the British Council and the Edwin Morgan Trust, I am facilitating a translation workshop between three Scottish poets and three Russian poets.  This trip follows close on the [...]

Events: Summertime & the Living is…

A little summary of the handful of events I have coming up... would be wonderful to see you at one, some or all if you can make it along. OPUL is performing at Click Clack tomorrow night (Friday 29) at Henry's Cellar Bar, 7-10pm  Catherine Street and I will be performing a new piece called [...]

A Word in Your Shell-Like

I have not been an actual performer in the Edinburgh Fringe for some time, but I get a chance this year as part of this lovely wee poetry event, which also features my SPL colleague and wonderful poet Georgi Gill.  There is an open mic element to it so please come and join us to [...]

CLICK CLACK: A little poetry and music…

Kick off the festival season with a little music, more music, and poetry and music. OPUL (the marvellous James Iremonger and me) will be playing some new pieces, showcased thus far only in distant and beautiful Montreal at the Le 17e Festival de la poésie de Montréal. I haven't had the pleasure of seeing Snibbo yet but I [...]

If a Leaf Falls Press at Good Press

Very excited to be reading at this on 6 August: If a Leaf Falls Press at Good Press Saturday 6th August 2016 3-6pm With readings by... Maria Fusco reading Notes on Comic Face nick-e melville reading slippage/pigsclap twice Sam Riviere reading Cont. and Preferences Mike Saunders reading george clooney will always be handsome: towards a phenomonology of [...]

This Is What You Shall Do

I was in New Jersey visiting my family a couple of weeks ago, and I went with my mother - who has lived in New Jersey from birth - and my 4 year old nephew, as well as my new Scottish family, to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. None of them except my [...]

New Poems, New Places

New blog about the recent trip to the Festival de la poésie de Montréal up on the SPL website today: Canadian Dreaming and a couple of recent publications: Dangerous Emotions as part of the magnificent Dangerous Women Project, and poems in Far Off Places and The Reader Huge thanks to the editors and publishers who have [...]

Poetry, poetry and more poetry!

So much has been happening lately that I have not had time to share.  I will include some links in this post to recent events and excitements. I had this article about borders, passports and writers working abroad in politically-complicated countries published in The Bottle Imp, a wonderful online journal that exists to promote and support the [...]

House of the Tragic Poet

Happy days! Available for pre-order now, my new pamphlet House of the Tragic Poet, published by Sam Riviere's gorgeous If A Leaf Falls Press. These poems came about because I watched a documentary about a house in Pompeii called, wonderfully, 'The House of the Tragic Poet', and wrote a poem about that house.  Then that [...]

British Art Show 8

The blog has gone up introducing the project that Catherine Street and I will be doing as writers-in-residence for the Edinburgh leg of this year's British Art Show.  You can read about our 'live writing sessions' here, and find the link where you'll be able to watch the three live writing sessions from anywhere in [...]

ALL SYSTEMS… go

Opening Bracket / Closing Bracket: An Object Lesson in Levitation by JL Williams, performed on 17 February 2016 at Cooper Gallery It was very special to have the opportunity to write and perform the new text Opening Bracket / Closing Bracket: An Object Lesson in Levitation at Cooper Gallery last week, and especially wonderful to [...]

Pathos of the Once Organic

I met Rob Packer some time ago at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and though soon after he moved all the way to Brazil (lucky man!), we have kept in touch and I'm always delighted to hear about his writing and experiences in his beautiful new homeland.  I was particularly touched recently to receive a [...]

Drag Queen Poetry: The Library is Open!

I was so honoured to host the recent Drag Queen Poetry event at the Scottish Poetry Library.  When I first heard Iain Morrison reading his new sequence of Drag Queen poems in 2015, I knew they needed to be heard by more people.  Iain's brilliant friend, poet and artist Jean-François Krebs, came on board and American poet [...]

TRG3 and BAS8

It's been, according to our calculations, about four years since the extraordinary artist Catherine Street and I began working together.  We've been exploring art, writing and performance and are delighted to have submitted one of the three proposals selected for this year's TRG3 residencies at Talbot Rice Gallery.  We have also been invited to be writers-in-residence for the [...]

Dance & Poetry

Heading through for this soon... can't wait!  I've been wanting to explore poetry and dance for ages.  Do come along if you're near the Silvery Tay. Cooper Gallery would like to invite you to join us for an evening of Dance & Poetry that will further explore the ideas and propositions presented in our current exhibition ALL SYSTEMS... [...]

A Drop of Dew

'Ah, what is the life of a human being - a drop of dew, a flash of lightning? This is so sad, so sad.' from In a Bamboo Grove by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, translated by Jay Rubin I am on a plane travelling between Paris and Edinburgh, having stopped today at Charles De Gaulle on my [...]

Poetry Poetry Poetry… and Aldeburgh!

What a busy time it has been lately!  We had the grand reopening of the Scottish Poetry Library last week, and it is so nice to be back together in our beautiful new building.  It has been especially fabulous to run some workshop sessions in our new dedicated workshop room, The Space.  I also love [...]

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