There are a few areas of writing that still defy categorisation. The Jam Trap fits happily in one of these. Chrissy Williams has captured instances of everyday life and instead of boiling them down to their component parts, as one might do to create other kinds of poetry, she has framed them and presented them as the delightful and unique moments they themselves are. Williams confidently creates each piece without the need to overtly show the workings of their construction. It feels effortless.
She calls them prose poems. I have no issue with this, but as a prose loyalist, I would call a lot of them flash fiction, or microfiction, or short short stories. I guess it doesn’t really matter. They define themselves upon reading, and they read beautifully. Each prose poem feels highly personal on a universal scale. It’s a kind of intimate awkwardness we can all relate to. On occasion, the normality of the situation pushes through a little too much, making the odd poem teeter on the wrong side of ordinary, but on the whole the poetry revels in the day-to-day and elevates it to a place of wonder.
It’s a great thing to see poetry that, at first glance, doesn’t look like ‘Poetry’. Williams proves that poetry is a medium to be utilised and not a set of rules to be constrained by.
Chrissy Williams is a London-based poet who is currently working on digitising the entire Saison Poetry Library’s periodical collection.
The Jam Trap is published by Soaring Penguin Press and can be found here.
Review by Nick Murray