William Ayot, award winning poet from the United Kingdom to read at the Harlow

On Friday, September 14, 2012 at 7 pm the Harlow Gallery at 160 Water Street in Hallowell presents an evening of intensely moving yet inspiring poetry from UK poet William Ayot, who is visiting Maine from Wales.

William’s powerful and accessible poetry speaks directly to the heart as he charts an underworld journey through loss, self-loathing and grief, to 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 manhood, families and the pains of growing – down as well as up! If you are a therapist, an artist, are into men’s work, or a person in recovery; if you are unhappy, depressed or simply yearning to come home, this is an evening you won’t want to miss.    

William has published three collections and runs a world-class poetry series in Wales called On the Border. Having worked in rehab, led men’s initiatory retreats in the Welsh mountains and worked for ten years using poetry and story to teach leadership in business schools around the world, William recently 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.   


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 recognise 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 Ayot is an English poet, playwright and creative consultant. During the nineteen nineties he began using poetry, story and ritual to facilitate groups in rehab and prisons, eventually leading initiatory Rites of Passage, (ritual retreats for men) in North Wales. Later he was instrumental in the development of Mythodrama, an exciting new form of personal development and executive education, and worked around the world teaching leadership through poetry, story and ritual. Five years ago, William reduced his business commitments and set up On the Border, a world-class poetry series in Wales, which brings many of the finest poets to the small border town of Chepstow. This led to the formation of NaCOT (National Centre for the Oral Tradition), which is committed to creating the UK’s first dedicated home for spoken poetry, storytelling, and public speaking of all kinds.

William believes passionately in the spoken word’s power to heal and transform. He won the Piccadilly Poets Competition (London) for spoken poetry and was commissioned by The New Globe Theatre in London to write and recite a poem to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the very first performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. 

William still works with a few select clients as a teacher, coach and creative consultant. He gives presentation master-classes and teaches the uses of poetry, story and ritual in healing, therapy and personal development. William designs and facilitates bespoke rituals for groups and individuals in transition, to which he brings over thirty years of artistic, psychological and ceremonial experience.  

Writing: drama includes the play Bengal Lancer (Leicester & West End, London), andShakespeare’s Ear (Indiana tours). Poetry includes three collections: Small Things that Matter(OMA), The Inheritance (PS Avalon), and E-Mail from the Soul: New & Selected Leadership Poems which is due from PS Avalon in October 2012. His poems have been widely anthologized, and are increasingly popular in the business and therapeutic communities. Other writing includes speeches, and keynotes for politicians and corporate leaders, as well as articles, features and reviews for newspapers and magazines including The Times (of London), Therapy Today andRecovery Times.

William is a Member of the Welsh Academi, a Fellow of the Guild of Mythodrama Practitioners, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He lives with his wife, the psychotherapist and teacher, Juliet Grayson Ayot, in a 700 year old, restored Monmouthshire Gentry House near Chepstow, South East Wales.