Chrissy Williams is star-gazing: her canvas is wider than the mere page and she wants to bring a variety of influences and references to her poetry beyond mere books. “Robot Unicorn Attack” is a love poem for a video game,
“Possibility bursts like a horse
full of light, accelerating
into a star. Explosion. Hit
to make your dreams
crash into stone. Death.
Diatonic chimes of joy.
I want to be with you.
Let dolphins fly in time.
Swim through air, leap
past sense, past sin and then
hit to chase your dreams…”
Both enjambment and short, breathless sentences built a sense of urgency. The repetition of “dreams” and the urge to make or chase them is in contrast to the precise “diatonic chimes of joy” which feels as if the gamer is being commanded to behave in a certain, expected way. It’s not surprise that a later poem uses a hastag. Not that these poems will behave in a certain, expected way. Chrissy Williams delights in being mischievous and experimenting with non linear forms. In “Instructions to the Lemon Grass Artist”
Lemon Grass undergoes a transformation. Its stalk splinters from the tip to form new stars.
7. Lemon Grass is a thousand stars seen by day, a lit sky, a light formed of many lights.
8. Lemon Grass returns to its initial state and prepares to whisper a word.
A universe is extrapolated from a blade of lemongrass. Both stars and bears are motifs running through these poems. “On Getting Boney M’s cover of ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ by Harry Belafonte stuck in my head” a friend’s son:
“Finlay has a poem:
I found a treasure.
I measured the treasure.
It was only a centimetre long.”
The poem ends
“And how unaccountable the difference
between volume and worth, How fast
the heart can fill with treasure.”
Even if that treasure is only a centimetre long. Metaphorically that treasure could be a poem, a small thing folded into a small space that could still contain a universe. Chrissy Williams’s poems are full of playful possibilities and manage to feel spontaneous, even though a great deal of care went into their construction, creating a buoyancy that carries readers along.
Available from HappenStance
By Emma Lee