Tuesday 28th April - Chrissy Williams & Anna Selby

For our April reading (our second away from home - see at the bottom of the page for new venue and programme details) we are thrilled to present Chrissy Williams, whose poetry brings a delightful and highly visual sense of the playful and unexpected, and Anna Selby, in whose internationally-influenced work a wry energy goads bodies to transformation or transcendence. A reading not to be missed!

Chrissy Williams is a writer and freelance editor living in London. She is half-Italian and was brought up in Devon by an English father, Italian mother and Welsh and Scottish grandparents. She has an MA in modern and contemporary poetry, had fulfilled editorial roles with picture books, revision guides and video games magazines, amongst other things, and worked on a boat for a year and sailed across the Indian Ocean. Her poems and essays have been widely published, in places such as Poetry London, Poetry Review, The Rialto and S/S/Y/K, and she is director of the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair. Her pamphlet Flying into the Bear was published in 2013 by HappenStance Press and was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards.

'the most energetic, delightful collection you will read this year'  The TLS on Flying into the Bear

She has published three other pamphlets, most recently Epigraphs (if p then q), as well as The Jam Trap (Soaring Penguin) and ANGELA (Sidekick Books), both created in collaboration with comics artists (ANGELA originally started life as pamphlet/concrete poetry broadside Murder, She Wrote).

'an atmosphere of the ecstatic, seen in sudden lateral movement, unexpected surges of the psyche, pleasurable and spontaneous'  Sabotage Reviews

Anna Selby grew up in Shropshire, she worked abroad before moving to Norwich to study English Literature and do a Creative Writing Masters at the University of East Anglia. In 2011, she was shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award. Her poems have been in various publications and her poetry-dance collaborations have been shortlisted for The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, featured on the BBC Culture Show and tour nationally. Her pamphlet The Burning was published by Salt in 2013.

'The Burning pulses with ingenious energy... her poems are generous with possibility.'  Alison Brackenbury

Her poems often explore our connection with water and are influenced by poetry from Eastern Europe. In 2012, she organised Poetry Parnassus festival and co-edited The World Record (Bloodaxe), an international anthology of work by poets from all the countries taking part in the 2012 London Olympics. A specialist in contemporary international poetry, she lives in London and works as Literature and Spoken Word Programmer at the Southbank Centre.

'The poems are poignant, funny, passionate and more besides; and in all their tones they ring true. You read them with little shocks of surprise and recognition'  David Constantine


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.’

Chrissy Williams

‘The burning’ is a phrase used in north Norfolk to describe phosphorescence

My accomplice stumbles away out of colour,
then stops at the edge abruptly, as if the sea
were a window that appeared in his house.
The ship–like buildings of midnight mount behind us:
moonset fugitives, two smugglers wading into our silence.
We swim above a town they say sunk beneath us.
If the tide were low enough, the wind
would rush through the bell towers. I turn back,
skin crackling and could cry or sing,
shaking constellations from my hands. Stars slip
off my fingers, like scales from a fisherwoman’s knife.
We lay each other out in wet sand.
The waves extinguish themselves,
tug and resist bare feet, bare shins, bare skin.
And yes, the town might never have existed,
but even if you imagine it, it will lie
somewhere there before you. The legend
is still hauled from the depths, and there are hours
of fire left, and the sea is sinking in.

Anna Selby

Three Events, Two Venues, One Spring (of Poetry).

So, our brief sabbatical from The Gonville continues. Below is the programme for the three events we have lined up and their six brilliant readers, after which we return to The Gonville in June.

For full details on the new venues, including comprehensive directions, here is our venue information page.

Tuesday 24th March
Peter Robinson & André Mangeot
Murray Edwards College
at 8pm

Tuesday 28th April
Chrissy Williams & Anna Selby
Faculty of English, West Road
at 8pm

Tuesday 26th May
Shara McCallum & Lesley Saunders
Faculty of English, West Road
at 8pm

As always, doors open at 7.30 for an 8pm start to the readings; payment on the door only £5/£4 concessions; first come first served 2-minute open mic spots will be available (ask for the sign-up sheet on arriving) and there will be books by the guest readers for sale.