Fruitmarket Festival Friday – Six Poets: #2: Chrissy Williams

#2: Chrissy Williams
Fruitmarket Gallery, Friday 15 August 2014, 8 pm.

 Every year I look forward to returning to Edinburgh at Festival time – because I’m half-Scottish and studied at Edinburgh University, because I love the Book Festival and other festivities there, and because it’s one of the truly splendid cities of the world.

 And for the last few years the Fruitmarket Gallery has given added reason for delight, providing the setting for a fine evening of poetry, whatever the festival weather. Hosted by the Fruitmarket’s inimitable Iain Morrison and local host poets Andrew Philip and Rob Mackenzie, the night alone’s been worth the trip north.

 I’m very happy this year to be joining Andy and Rob again, along with Simon Barraclough, Chrissy Williams and AB Jackson, and to be hosting here, virtually, a small introduction to their brilliant work.


Step up, Chrissy Williams!


Chrissy Williams is a writer and freelance editor living in London. She is director of the Free Verse: Poetry Book Fair. She has published four pamphlets. Flying Into the Bear (HappenStance, 2013) was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards. The Jam Trap and ANGELA are collaborations with comics artists. Her most recent pamphlet is Epigraphs (if p then q, 2014).

The Lost

             Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
             mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
               ché la diritta via era smarrita.


At one point, midway on our path in life
When I had journeyed half of our life's way
Half way along the road we have to go
 I came to in a gloomy wood
In the midway of this our mortal life
Midway upon the journey of our life
Midway along the journey of our life
  I came around and found myself now searching
  Through a dark wood, the right way blurred and lost

  I found me in a gloomy wood, astray
  I found I was in a dark forest
  I found myself within a forest dark
  I found myself within a shadowed forest
  I found myself obscured in a great forest
  Bewildered, and I knew I had lost the way

Halfway through the story of my life
  I woke to find myself in a dark wood
  Gone from the path direct
  For I had wandered off from the straight path
  For I had strayed from the straight path
  For I had lost the path that does not stray
Midway in our life's journey
  The straightforward pathway had been lost


Acknowledgments to various translations of Dante’s Inferno Canto I, lines 1-3,
by Appelbaum, Cary, Carson, Kirkpatrick, Longfellow, Mandelbaum, Musa
and Sisson, which have been rearranged here. 


See Chrissy’s blog here.

Follow Chrissy on twitter: @chrissywilliams