Chrys Salt: poet in performance

seriously good and thoroughly individual- JB Pick

direct, original and forceful – Bernard Kops

intelligent, honest and perceptive: one of the most stimulating of contemporary poets – David Benedictus

I love the economy and humour…
– Prunella Scales

Her work speaks of past forms in a language so finely tuned it appears natural – Ambit


Set 1: The Weaver of Grass explores the life and work of Angus MacPhee, the `outsider artist` from South Uist in The Outer Hebrides, renowned for weaving wonderful garments out of grass and flowers while a patient in a Scottish Mental institution. What are we to make of an artist for whom the making was all and the subsequent destruction was of no consequence? Based on the central sequence in her recent collection Grass (Publisher: Indigo Dreams, July 2012) and excerpts from The Silent Weaver (Publisher: Birlinn 2012) the fantastic biography of Angus by Roger Hutchinson, this set builds outwards from the life of the artist and the context for his creativity, to the central question about the nature of art and the creative process.

I am not mad,’ he says
inside his head
‘madness is only longing
turned inward like a thorn

Only the grass made sense
and understood his conversation.

(This set can also be offered as a double-act with Roger Hutchinson and can include the excellent short film examining the technique used by Angus MacPhee by artist Joanne B Kaar).

Set 2: Collateral Damage - `what can a poem do in times like these? ` This set is about the role of poetry as a mirror to conflict. Not war poetry, but reflections on war from the experiences of innocent victims and the women left behind. Using poems from Collateral Damage (Publisher: Markings 2004) and Grass (Publisher: Indigo Dreams 2012) this powerful programme of poems for peace is especially relevant with the 10th anniversary of the second Iraq War – which inspired the 2004 collection – approaching in spring 2013.

Collateral damage, shock ad awe.
Gives language a bad name does war.

Set 3: Bloodlines – drawn from her recent collection, Grass (Publisher: Indigo Dreams 2012) and Old Times (Publisher: Roncodora 2009) these reflections of family past and family foreseen may appeal in particular to an older audience. Beautifully observed, sensitive and poignant, these characters could be drawn from any family.

Frail as a blown egg;
hands in restless communion
in her floral lap,
whittled to child-size
lizard eyed
and brighter than the buttons on
her comfy cardigan
she watches minutes turn
like pages of a book
she is just finishing
and not wanting it to end,
she lingers on.

Set 4: Bespoke – a set created for to suit the interests of a specific audience as agree with the event organiser. This can include the work of other writers alongside work from Chrys`s published collections.


Make your writing speak – a popular workshop for writers wishing to improve their performance skills, drawing on Chrys`s experience as an actor, theatre director and performance poet.

Capturing the thought – a workshop for people that are seeking to express themselves through a poetic form that starts from the Bernard Kops maxim `don`t get it right get it written`. Participants are expected to leave with some work in progress!

Make a Booking

Each poetry set is 40 – 60 minutes in length. One set could make a suitable event at a Festival and two sets a complete evening. The workshops are typically 2 hours or half a day. Fees are  negotiable in the range £150 – £300 plus travel expenses. Chrys is registered with the Scottish Book Trust and can be booked for events in Scotland that are funded by Live Literature Scotland.

For enquiries about availability and costs for a Chrys Salt appearance or workshop/residency, or for the double-bill with Roger Hutchinson, please contact Richard Macfarlane- telephone 077688 93731, e-mail – . Alternatively, feel free to contact Chrys directly. Telephone – 07891 803027 E-mail –