Chrys is a trained performer, an established poet, and an award winning writer and theatre director. She has always written poetry but started her career as a performer, appearing in everything from radio drama, The Archers (as Sid Perk’s first girlfriend) to several TV series ( Gwenda Lloyd in Softy, Softly) repertory, tours and The West End. As both actor and director she has worked with many of the country’s leading actors including Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Michael Gambon, Sir Ian McKellan, Leslie Phillips, Julie Christie, Jean Boht, and many more.
She writes book, plays, for theatre and radio. A full CV of her work in the literary at can be found on www.chrysssalt.com
As a poet Chrys has performed with everyone from the late Poet Laureate Cecil Day Lewis to George Melly , Dannie Abse, Stewart Conn( first Edinburgh Laureate) Ian McMillan, Michael Horovitz ( to name but a few) strutting her stuff across the UK, in Europe and the USA, at leading Literary Festivals, pubs and dank basements.. Work has appeared in many journals, magazines and anthologies and been broadcast on Radio 3 and 4. She has published four collections, Inside Out (Pub: Autolycus/Times Publishing), Daffodils at Christmas (Pub: Galloway Poets Series), Greedy for Mulberries: Selected Poems 1989-2007 (Pub: Markings) and Old Times (Pub: Roncadora). Her new collection Grass will be published by IDP in July and another, to coincide with the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq war by Roncadora in March 2013. Chrys is a member of Actors Equity, a founder member of The Solway Festival Poets, on The Scottish Book Trust Register, The Literature Convenor of the Dumfries and Galloway Festival and Artistic Director of the Bakehouse, a poetry venue in S W Scotland.
Bursaries, Grants and Awards include a National Media Award (her book Here We Go: Women’s Memories of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike) a New Writing Bursary (English Arts Council) a Work Development Grant (Scottish Arts Council) a residency at Royal Holloway College, London University, a Fringe First (The Scotsman) and most recently a collaborative artist’s residency in France funded by the Poitou-Charente Region.
Indigo Dreams Publishing
Publication 06/07/ 2012
138 x 216mm
"Many of the poems in Chrys Salt’s new collection are mini-dramas. They offer characters who come alive for us in a few deft lines; they set scenes with touches of detail and exactitudes of emotion. Chrys is an involved poet, involved unapologetically with individuated humanity and drawing there from also a whole view and wide sympathy. Just one brief example of what I mean is given below:
When call-up papers came
he rode his finest gelding
to Lochboisdale Ferry,
a cartwheel broken
in the shed, eggs uncollected,
jobs on the croft unfinished,
his favourite collie mewling
on its chain. …"
“Chrys Salt captures the life and the distress of ‘outsider artist’ Angus MacPhee in language and imagery as natural as his materials – grass-roots, hawkweed, husk and seed, moss, buttercup, vetch and thorn – weaving them into an elegiac evocation of the loss and regret he worked through in his long years of incarceration.”
Brian Johnstone (Co-founder and former Festival Director of StAnza: Scotland's International Poetry Festival)
“Chrys Salt's poems have a wonderful vitality, warmth and immediacy those threaded with elegy imbued with humour as well as humanity.”
The door of dad’s greenhouse
scrapes open to a fragrance
of ripened tomatoes;
compost trowelled round
cucumber and marrow.
A low sun parts the cobwebs,
resurrects dad at the nursery bench
dandling a fragile seedling
fingers grimed with nicotine
tenderly potting up.
Salt from our pantry
cradled in my palm
I sneak down corridors of fern,
warm steamy passages
into a sanctuary of leaf and fruit.
Vine tomatoes are the best!
I eat them like apples,
and always that first fleshy bite
bursts on the taste-buds of my memory
salt-sharp as loss.
Hymn to Mastectomy
Here’s to the woman with one tit
who strips down to her puckered scars
and fronts the mirror – doesn’t give a shit
for the pert double breasted wonderbras
sneaking a furtive gander
at her missing bit.
‘Poor lady,’ they are thinking
‘can her husband bear to touch her?
Will she ever dare to wear
that slinky low-cut sweater?’
Here’s to the woman with half a bust
who wears her lack of symmetry
with grace and moist with lust
offers a single nipple like a berry
to her lover’s tongue.
Here’s to the mono-breasted ones
come home, victorious from their wars
wearing their wounds
as badges on the chests
‘She ought to cover up
It’s embarrassing, it’s shocking.
I’m sure she thinks she’s very brave
but everybody’s looking!’
Here’s to those wondrous affrontages
out on the scene in sauna, pool and gym
those who when whole were dying –
now less than whole
become themselves again.
"Chrys Salt's taut and lyrical verse weaves a moving tribute to the life of Angus MacPhee."
Extract from Weaver of Grass i.m. Angus MacPhee
…that he left star bursts of asphodel
hawkweed radiant in rock clefts, spring squill
the bloody stalks of birds foot trefoil
sightings of the chestnut breasted dotterel,
and was transplanted in unfamiliar valleys
remote, volcanic – that he grew restive, solitary,
that darkness consumed him, that he heard voices,
Old Celtic songs in the emerald grasses …
only the grass made sense
And understood his conversation.
He made a dove on a stick
and wrote his first and only poem.
'At number Ten Downing Street
are all the thugs you can meet'
in ‘best writing’ under it.
Mrs Thatcher would have quailed to see
my militant five year old brandishing his dove
in a sea of Ban the Bomb banners
on that march.
It was a sunny day I remember,
we ate ice cream,
and it mattered.
I hadn’t met you then
but know you were on that march
with Bruce Kent, Harold Pinter, Tony Benn,
strutting the stuff of Peace,
addressing the Rally in Hyde Park.
Next morning he asked me
'have they banned it yet?
I started to explain….
'I'm not going again' he said,
implacably dunking soldiers
in his breakfast egg.
Thirty years on I'd like to think
he wasn't right,
that poetry and protest
might, just might
keep all of us alive
for ice cream in the park
The gap between my fingers
stops me in my tracks
I wear my father’s hands
big knuckles dating time
like tree rings
grief does not mend
it grows a scab on pain
a smelly cheese, buffed shoes ,
a cactus in a pot
a stranger’s ears or nose
will knock it off
to bare the wound
they say hands are the giveaway
and I remember his
holding a pen
a Players No.10
or folded in his lap
on the day of the diagnosis
knowing the train had left the station,
that it was the last one home.