Black Iris: Poems from Jordan by Alexander Williams
I met Alex at the premier showing of Heaven’s Rage (Leslie Tate and Mark Crane) in October 2017. Since then, Alex has joined the TSL team as an author. His book Chrysalis is due in 2018.
Alex is multi-talented. At the showing of Heaven’s Rage (Berkhamsted Live), Alex was singing numbers form the musical he’d written for a school production. Later I heard him at The Kitchen, Croxley, were he hosted Dial Up – an open-mic event featuring music, readings, poetry and whatever goes. THis was the last night at Croxley, the new venue being the Improv Theatre on Finchley Road (entrance the North Star pub. For those not wanting to travel, The Kitchen has a new open mic host).
Singing, writing musicals, a young adult novel written and poetry. I’m not a great poetry fan but asking Alex about his two-year stay in Jordan, he produced Black Iris, a short book of poems based on his stay.
Now this is poetry which speaks to me – reflections on life, what you see, in simple bite-size chunks. However, Alex’s use of words allows something simple to become multi-layered and nuanced. The poems covering an event or a range of experiences allowed an insight in a way a narrative would most likely have flattened, or telling rote.
Highlights included encounters with children and learning the language – reminscent of my early days of Swahili learning in Tanzanian schools; and how soon you settle in, forgetting to remind guests of morning calls and such like.
This is a poetry book I think I’ll find myself dipping into again on occasion. And for those wondering about the title: it’s the national flower of Jordan.Share