We are delighted to welcome back English-poet-living-in-Wales, William Ayot for a poetry reading on Friday, September 13 at 7 pm. Last year William’s impromptu reading from his latest book, E-Mail From the Soul, entertained and moved a committed audience of die-hard poetry lovers at the Harlow. This year Ayot returns having won the UK’s People’s Book Prize, Special Achievement Award,for a book that is having an effect in the community – in this case the community of leaders.
William’s powerful and accessible poetry speaks directly to the heart as he charts an underworld journey through loss and alienation, to self-acceptance, reconciliation and a sense of belonging. A one-time student of indigenous shamans, William brings a grounded reality and a big heart to poems about the struggles and sacrifices of work, relationship and self-discovery – about growing down as well as growing up!
If you have ever taken on the role of leader, led a group, or run a business – If you are a manager, a therapist or an artist – If you are into men’s work, a person in recovery, or embarking on an ‘inner journey’ – If you are down, depressed or simply yearning to come home, this is an evening you won’t want to miss.
William has published three collections of poetry and runs a world-class poetry series in Wales called On the Border. Having worked in rehab and prisons, led initiatory retreats, and worked for ten years, using poetry and story to teach leadership through Mythodrama (a new and experiential form of executive education) William set up NaCOT, the National Centre for the Oral Tradition, a dedicated home for the spoken word which is putting poetry and story to work across the UK. William still teaches in business schools and corporations around the world. He is currently teaching on the AMP (Advanced Management Programme) at INSEAD in France & Singapore, and was recently made Poet-in-Residence at Oxford University’s Said Business School.
What they say about William Ayot
William Ayot’s poems are wrung out of necessity, the terrible inheritance that had to be told. The poems speak with a fine control and intensity. His performance takes this control to a different level. Pitch-perfect, he faces up to the ‘dogs of disaster’ with wit and compassion, a glass raised against the darkness. – Imtiaz Dharker
William Ayot’s poems don’t offer comfort. They are tools for survival in an uncertain world – a way to preserve in yourself, and to recognize in others, the roots of human feeling, passion, power and decency. – Philip Gross (Winner T.S. Eliot Prize)
William Ayot’s poetry is like the man himself: intelligent, unpretentious, accessible. His concerns are immediately recognisable, and his verse’s energy and sustained focus consistently bring his subject matter to a satisfactory conclusion. There is little inconsequentiality and much passion, though the emotion is kept sensitively under control. “Counting the Marigolds” is one of the best poems I’ve read in a very long time. – Paul Groves
William is a superb poet. I urge you to attend one of his poetry readings to hear him read is sublime. Excellent book…saw him read at the Oxford Literary Festival last month and loved it. He is such a great reader and has a powerful energy in the room. I think I am in love!!! – Anonymous Voter, The People’s Book Prize
Counting The Marigolds
The fist came out of nowhere.
He was nine years old and running up the garden path,
excited as only a boy can be
when he sees his father coming home.
Daddy, Daddy. I scored a goal!
It caught him right on the button.
Something split and he could taste the metal in his blood
before he hit the ground.
He was staring at a bed of marigolds,
concentrating, counting leaves and petals,
when his father picked him up and looked him in the eye.
I must have told you a dozen times, he slurred.
Never leave yourself open.