JL Williams was born in New Jersey and studied at Wellesley College and on the MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Her poetry has been included in many magazines and anthologies, and she has published three full collections and a pamphlet. Condition of Fire was inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses and a journey to the Aeolian Islands; Locust and Marlin explores the idea of home and where we come from. Our Real Red Selves (Vagabond Poets, 2015), a triptych collection featuring Williams and two other Scottish poets, considers themes of war and birth. House of the Tragic Poet, a sequence of poems inspired by the loss of a poem, was published by Sam Riviere’s If A Leaf Falls Press in 2016. Her most recent collection, After Economy, explores the fine line between abundance and apocalypse.
Williams is particularly interested in expanding dialogues through poetry across languages, perspectives and cultures and in cross-form work, visual art, opera and theatre. She was awarded a grant from the Scottish Arts Council for a poetry collaboration entitled chiaroscuro pentimenti and, in 2009, the Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary from the Scottish Arts Trust. She was selected for the 2015 Jerwood Opera Writing Programme and for the TRG3 Residency Programme at Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh.
Performer in the poetry and music band Hail of Bright Stones with composer and musician James Iremonger, Williams gives regular poetry readings and workshops and is on the Live Literature funded list of Scottish Book Trust Authors. She has read and performed in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, Cyprus, Canada, Hungary, Romania, Montenegro and the US. She curates poetry events and creates workshops and professional development activities for poets.
JL Williams was the Events Manager at the Scottish Poetry Library between 2012 and 2016.