INDIGO DREAMS

PUBLISHING LTD

PUBLISHING WHITE 3cm

GRASS

 

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.

 

GRASS

 

CHRYS SALT

 

ISBN 978-1-907401-85-5

 

Indigo Dreams Publishing

 

Publication 06/07/ 2012

 

Poetry

 

DCF

 

138 x 216mm

 

74 pages

 

£6.99 U.K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"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:

 

The War

 

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. …"

 

Tessa Ransford

 

“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.”

 

Stewart Conn

 

Forbidden fruit.

 

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

of Amazons.

 

‘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."

 

Roger Hutchinson

 

 

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.

Protest

 

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

and sun

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

linseed

 a stranger’s ears or nose

will knock it off

to bare the wound

again

 

they  say  hands are the giveaway

 

and I remember his

holding a pen

a book

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.

Chrys bookweb 1 Chrya bookweb 2 GRASS web