Tony Williams’s first collection of poetry The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street (Salt, 2009) was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Portico Prize. His pamphlet All the Rooms of Uncle’s Head is published by Nine Arches Press. A book of short stories is forthcoming from Salt in 2012. He works as a lecturer in creative writing at Northumbria University.
“The maker of these strange pieces was an inmate of an asylum somewhere in Central Europe in the first decades of the 20th century. His fevered versions of the sonnet form were painted on to ceramic tiles, since smashed, and now pieced together to give some partial access to his world of mental anguish, incarceration and dreams of flight.
Inspired by the great artists celebrated by Hans Prinzhorn in his famous work The Artistry of the Mentally Ill, Tony Williams has explored what it might mean to create literature under such conditions of stress. These highly formal and dreamlike poems do not exploit their subject. Instead they seek to dramatise complex meditations on landscape and identity by taking on an anxious, urgent voice whose power is founded on a strange and scornful idiosyncrasy.”