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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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! […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Gap and The Bridge

And on the subject of recent publications, here is a link to an article I wrote for The Bottle Imp about The Unconveyable in poetry.  Also you can find out more about StAnza’s collaboration with the Bridging the Continental Divide project for the translation of neo-Latin Scottish poetry, in which Scottish poets were commissioned to […]

Poetry Flashmob in Göttingen and other delights…

It’s been a busy few months!  Check out the links for some text, reviews and recordings.    Recording of Our Real Red Selves book launch at Golden Hare Bookshop here.  The Process of Being piece that Catherine Street and I performed at the Cooper Gallery in Dundee, here.  Review of the Hidden Door 2015 Unforeseen […]

Aye Write! 2015

It’s really a pleasure to be reading at two events at Aye Write! this year. The first will be on 18 April at 6pm.  It’s the pre-launch for ‘Triptych: Our Real Red Selves’ out with Vagabond Voices, with myself, Harry Giles and Marion McCready. This new series is inspired by the beautiful Penguin Modern Poets books […]

Until Only the Mountain Remains: Christopher Orr

I was very happy to be included in this collection of poetry and stories written in response to the beautiful work of Christopher Orr in The Beguiled Eye (15 November 2014 – 14 February 2015), an exhibition at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh.  Do catch it if you can, it’s really worth seeing in person.  You […]

SYMPOETRY on film

I feel so happy when I watch this film by Wee Dog Media documenting our SYMPOETRY: SPL Poetry Symposium last November.  Hope you enjoy it too!

Burns and Feminism

I had the pleasure of attending the Med-Chi Burns Supper on Friday.  I was there to deliver a ‘Reply to the Toast to the Lassies’ that I hope would make my Wellesley College compatriots proud. The Tools of the Trade anthology is mentioned; I couldn’t resist as I was speaking to a room full of […]

Poems and Paintings on Lindisfarne

It has been wonderful working with the very talented artist Rose Strang on these collaborations.  Her paintings are so full of light and mystery, it’s a delight to respond to them poetically.  I recorded the poems and she then made these lovely films.  You can see more of Rose’s work, and find out how to […]

Mirrorball at the CCA

So pleased to be reading alongside two fabulous poets next week at the CCA in Glasgow.  Do join us if you’re free. Mirrorball Date Thursday 30th October 2014 – 7:00pm CCA Clubroom, 350 Sauciehall Street £5 on the door, SMM members free, All ages Paul Farley was born in Liverpool in 1965 and studied at the […]

A Poet in the Garden

At the Scottish Poetry Library we’ve been experimenting with the possibility of making short film interviews with poets. Hopefully this is the first of many. Interview and film by Julie Johnstone, in the beautiful Dunbar Close Garden across the street from the SPL. A Scottish Poetry Library Light Rhymes Production 2014.

The Wisdom of Stone

Just came across this recording done for the Edinburgh City of Literature ‘enlighten’ project a couple years ago… funny to realise that I was writing about the life of stones even then (inspired in this case by James Hutton) and then went on to write more on this subject in Locust and Marlin, thanks to […]

Be The First To Like This

An anthology of New Scottish Poetry — Be The First To Like This — is launching this Thursday, 25 September, at the Scottish Poetry Library.  All anthologists are saddled with the difficult task of making a selection from what is usually a wealth of creativity and talent, however what has delighted me about what I’ve […]

Hix Eros (is beautiful)

Hix Eros is a marvellous publication, much welcomed and recommended.  I believe that a healthy creative culture must go hand in hand with a healthy constructively critical culture, and publications such as Hix Eros are making this a reality.  Also, Issue #5, I’m honoured to say, has a totally gorgeous review of Locust and Marlin […]

A Little Light: Can Poetry Make A Difference?

A Little Light: Can Poetry Make A Difference? I’ve been so disheartened lately… every time I look at the news I read a list of apocalyptic catastrophes.  It’s hard, in the midst of all these reports of wars, murders, violence, disease, hunger and sorrow to feel that it’s okay to go through one’s day as […]

Tricolour and Auld Enemies

Some other wonderful nights coming up that I’ll be reading at with fabulous poets in July… 7 July Tricolour: The monthly night at National Library of Scotland showcasing three different poetry and spoken word talents. Three different voices, three different styles, three different takes on life.  This month we are joined by J A Sutherland, JL […]