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Chrys Salt

Updated: Thu, 10 Jan 2019 06:02 pm


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Chrys Salt is a poet with roots deeply planted in the theatre. She has produced four full poetry collections and four pamphlet collections and has performed on Radios 3 and 4, and done readings at venues and festivals across the UK and in the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Finland and India. She was awarded an MBE for services to the arts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2014. Born and brought up in Birmingham she left Erdington Grammar School early to train as an actor at The Birmingham Rep. A long and successful career in Repertory, Television, Radio and The West End followed, and this was combined with her poetry writing and performance, and later with writing and directing in the theatre and the publication of seven books for Actors. Chrys also ran workshops for professional actors at the Actors Centre in London for 20 years, experience she now brings to her 'Make Your Writing Speak' performance workshops for writers. In recent years she has been the recipient of two Creative Scotland Bursaries, one for completing Dancing on a Rock and the most recent (2017) for research in The Yukon for her next collection based on the Klondike Gold Rush. This is due to be published by Indigo Dreams Pub (IDP) in late 2019.


Lost There are no maps for poets in this country. The compass finger, mindless on its post will not direct us on this dangerous journey. An unfamiliar landscape tells us we are lost. Above the bramble and the rambling wood the technicoloured dragons wheel for bones of luckless travellers who have misconstrued the alien symbols on the milestones. We have nowhere to go but where we are, our options closed, the exit double locked. We may not take direction from a star. The stars are out and all the roads are blocked. How can we dare this nightmare territory? the shifting contours of the hills and coasts. the gibberish signposts and the season's enmity. What hand our touchstone in this land of ghosts? Hymn to Mastectomy Here’s to the woman with one tit who strips down to her puckered scars and fronts the mirror – doesn’t give a shit for the pert double breasted wonderbras sneaking a furtive gander at her missing bit. ‘Poor lady,’ they are thinking ‘can her husband bear to touch her? Will she ever dare to wear that slinky low-cut sweater’? Here’s to the woman with half a bust who wears her lack of symmetry with grace and moist with lust offers a single nipple like a berry to her lover’s tongue. Here’s to the single breasted ones come home, victorious from their wars wearing their wounds as badges on the chests of Amazons. ‘She ought to cover up its embarrassing, its shocking. I’m sure she thinks she’s very brave but everybody’s looking’! Here’s to those wondrous affrontages out on the scene in sauna, pool and gym those who when whole were dying – now less than whole become themselves again.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

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Chrys Salt

Thu 10th Jan 2019 18:05

Pitch to Publishers & Festival Organisers:
Chrys is renowned for writing and performing sequences of poems that also lend themselves to interpretation in other art-forms e.g. music and film that are then incorporated into her live performances. There are currently three such 'sets' in the repertoire, each of which can be adapted to suit Festival timeslots – with or without a Q and A. As an option extra Chrys offers a ‘Make Your Writing Speak’ workshop to help develop performance skills.
Home Front / Front Line is a set based on the Roncodora pamphlet (see above) that incorporates two film-poems produced by film-maker Kenneth Smyth with music composed and directed by Katherine Gillham. This is a moving personal story of the pacifist Mum of a territorial soldier in the second Iraq War.

Weaver of Grass: A Hebridean Tale is a set about the iconic Hebridean grass-weaver who died in the late 1990's and is now recognised as an important 'outsider artist'. The tale has inspired numbers of art-works and Chrys' poems are now being woven into a new performance piece featuring Chrys and one of Scotland best-known harp players, Wendy Stewart. The work is offered with or without the harp settings and is followed by Ötzi The Iceman, a sequence about another grass-weaver: The Iceman uncovered in the Alps after being in deep freeze for 5000 years.
The Punkawallah's Rope
How does a white middle-class woman from the ex-Colonial power make sense of modern-day India? This sequence of poems is based on a month in the North-East of India following a reading at the Kolkata Book Festival. Like India, the sequence is colourful, moving and challenging. It can be offered as a voice alone, but also with a landscape of music and sounds created by London-based musician Ajay Srivastav.
Make Your Writing Speak
Many good writers feel that the quality of their work is lost because they don't have adequate performance skills. This two-hour workshop is offered by Chrys as an adjunct to readings and will help writers improve their skills and confidence in public readings. It draws on Chrys training as an actor and her long experience of (i) providing skill-development workshops for actors and (ii) presenting her own writing in public.

Contact email:
Contact telephone
07891 803027

Awards & Prizes:
National Media Award (CRS)
New Writing Bursary (English Arts Council)
Work Development Award (Creative Scotland)
Fringe First (Edinburgh Festival).
Arts and Business Award 2012
The Burning was selected one of the Best Scottish Poems 2012.
Weaver of Grass shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Memorial Prize 2014
Research Bursary 2017 ( Open Lottery Funding)
Innovate Create Cultivate Award 2018
MBE for Services to The Arts 2014

Literary Festival Appearances include:
The Cheltenham Literary Festival, World Unite Festival (Leeds), Cheltenham Poetry Festival, The Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, The Tampere Poetry Festival, (Finland), Aye Write, The Wigtown Book Festival, The Edinburgh International Festival, Queens Park Book Festival, Islay Book Festival, The Festival of Firsts, The Wirral Poetry Festival, The Southside Festival, (Glasgow), The Aberfeldy Festival, Bath Literature Festival, The Kolkata Book Festival, StAnza International Festival, St Clémentin Bilingual Festival, (France).

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