Carol Watts

Carol Watts lives in London. She is the author of a number of chapbooks – brass, runningwhen blue light falls, and this is red – and alphabetise, a book of prose chronicles. Her work has appeared in How2, dusie, Ekleksographia, Signals, Penumbra and Poetry Wales, and is anthologised in The Reality Street Book of Sonnets and Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets. She co-directs the Centre for Poetics at Birkbeck, University of London. Carol's two books for Reality Street are listed below.

Read an extract from Occasionals

Clip of the launch reading of Occasionals

Video of Carol reading in Paris


Written over 12 months, from 23 September 2006 to 14 September 2007, Carol Watts’ sequence of poems explores the freight of a year with an ear to its future. Fragments and “cuts” of time and memory, light, sound, weather, the voices of children. John Clare wandering among rinds of a shoe-making village and city parakeets. Small series, detonating. The working through of an occasional tense, its cost, its serious music, its gift.

“The poetry of Occasionals is immediate with a subsequent accumulative layering. This derives from significant happenstance, bringing into the event of the poem a dense memory of rural experience with a strident urbanity, a clarity of diction documenting the sound of natural phenomena and elusive recall. The volume presents a conceptual poetry project with constructivist geometries and instruments of abrupt exactness. Geometries indicated by the idea of a seasonal sequence, akin to a Shepherd’s Calendar. The work is intimately extended using punctuation as an instrument, where sentences lose and find syntax in shifts of full stop placement. The reverberations of highly selected and playful language are both modern and archaic, precise in meditative grasp and lost in inventions. ‘Things happen. In the occasional, without recognition. Risks run, tessellate.’” Allen Fisher

2011, 978-1-874400-52-3, 88pp,  price £9.50 £6 


"Shipwrecks have made the fortunes of looters and of literature. A merchant ship returning from Grenada was wrecked on the coast of Devon in 1772. Aboard was a sole female passenger. Using this distant tragedy, Carol Watts has composed a sequence of poems where records, past and present, fictional and historical, mesh into one another. The looting that took place is evoked against that of contemporary warmongers, mercenary armies, global commerce. This resonant book is a poetic investigation into the wrecking of cultural legacy and it understands women’s experience as still largely unrecorded, erased from the logs of culture. A ship is always she and 'she is wreck'."  Caroline Bergvall

"Some one, some thing, quickens, is born, murdered: 'I rack such wrack here is the account' says our sea steward. Severely aligned with the forms and exigencies of weather, no excess allowed, only crushed shell carved 'written on her skin' in skin, small terror ever more vivid as magnified through the eye of this exquisite needle." Susan Gevirtz

"Fast, busy, swerving, unpredictable, glancing, glimmering, and it never peters out. There is surge after surge after surge of invention and vividness and brio, and every single page just crackles with ideas." Rod Mengham

2007, 978-1-874400-38-7, 52pp, O/P