Tag Archives: Jay Ramsay

Places of truth – a Pilgrimage

We’d like to draw your attention to a future event organised by poet Jay Ramsay – a day pilgrimage to Culbone  with meditation, writing
& convivial company. 10am for 10.30am, 7th October 2017
Meet at Culbone Inn car park (on A39 past Minehead).

A Gatekeeper Trust day with Jay Ramsay, poet,  following in the footsteps of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

‘But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon lover !
—Kubla Khan

A walk to the magical hanging valley of Culbone with its diminutive church and a further wooded descent on down to the sea at Porlock Weir.  There will be opportunities to capture the moment in poetry in the company of the highly acclaimed poet Jay Ramsay, author of many books of poetry.  We will pause at the church for the nourishment of soul and body.

Price £15 for the day  (does not include lunch or other expenses such as transport)  Accommodation is available at Pepperhill Barn, Over Stowey, TA5 1HL  including supper on Friday and transport to Culbone.

Bring good footwear for walking in, and a picnic lunch to share. Be aware that the walks are fairly lengthy, will require medium fitness and can be steep in places.

Please contact: Lucy Wyatt (LucyWyatt 57 @gmail. com – minus the gaps) if you would like to come to this special day and if you would like to stay at Pepperhill Barn

Jay’s latest collections are “Diamond Cutters–Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania” (co-edited with Andrew Harvey, Tayen Lane, San Francisco, 2016) and “Dreams Down Under—celebrating Australia” (knives forks & spoons, 2017). His Places of Truth, which includes the sequence about Culbone, is available from www.awenpublications.co.uk


Indigenous by Jay Ramsay

This is a poem continuing the theme of working through my illness, which has produced Surgery (Yew Tree Press, 2015), Left Field, and Al-Chemo (the last two unpublished/work in progress). This kind of writing has not only helped me explore a very deep and challenging process, it has also been very much about sharing it with others, not least because much of it is uncharted territory. All of this deepens the emphasis in Places of Truth (my main individual Awen collection so far) into a ‘poetry of the body’, which is also (it seems to me) largely unwritten, or written certainly more by women than men, closer to biological reality, less attached to logos-as-transcendence. The body means eros, and that is why it is so rich and healing a subject for me right now; and of course its domain is deep ecology—it has to be ! The body is perhaps our ultimate place of truth, even though we go ‘through’ it and beyond…



Left side, left field, after all that hard driving

it rises, a silent mound as if with a mouth

an O on the left of the throat, neck

swollen glands, lymph. How

does the body speak ? How else—


the truth is always beneath.

To read it you have to bend or kneel

as if to a tiny wild flower…

you have to have a conversation.


The doctor does drama

erring on the side of caution.

You do instinct—you do indigenous,

swelling means ? Immunity compromised

infection associated. Swelling feels?

It’s true, I’m a little tired

in the truth beneath.


And it’s trying to drain

the poison that remains

the paradoxical two-sided snake.


You go non-linear: you swell with listening

you receive, and the swell is abating

taking its time


you don’t hurry this Indian.

He walks as you could be walking

fasts as you are fasting

to the point of stillness

where your spirit begins to grow strong.




Long ago, in a café of my childhood

where we had fish & chips with tomato sauce

(cod always, and mushy peas) the proprietor there

sported a goitre on his neck.


We were fascinated, repelled, in awe.

What did it mean? How had it come to be?

Had he lost control?


Poor man, he looked like Frankenstein

bolted through his neck—

but commanding respect.


We were drilled to be polite,

and of course never mention it.


And we dreaded his fate.





The body’s fate is to speak, always

healthy or sick, striding or limping

in the truth beneath.


Ours is to learn the language

always before it’s too late

and there are no more Indians.


They are everywhere here, invisible

where we become invisible

immersed in listening.


And then we rise, and Mother of God

we will grow strong.


Different Continents

by Gabriel Bradford Millar

On Thursday 9 March @ Star Anise in Stroud a roomful of poetry aficionados were treated to a double book launch: Jay Ramsay’s Dreams Down Under (published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press) and Will Thomas’s Soul Candy. Will’s first book came out under the Chrysalis imprint.

Dreams Down Under was prompted by a 1000-mile road trip through New South Wales in Australia. Jay’s close, almost affectionate descriptions of the flora and fauna he saw were arresting, especially his empathy with things so other.



Soul Candy deals with the end of a long-term relationship and the hazards of online dating. Basically upbeat, it ends with the joy of a new love.

Both books are the immaculately articulated responses to life of two open-hearted men.

Here is the blurb from the back of Dreams Down Under:

‘These dynamic and vivid poems explore being “turned upside down” in different ways, geographically, emotionally, spiritually—the familiar becomes strange: seen for the first time. Based on a thousand mile road trip through New South Wales, Jay Ramsay fuses his ability to write in the moment with a deep ecological perception and concern where place is also metaphor, and our capacity for relationship and celebration is the invitation of Life itself. This is poetry of the natural world suffused in Eros, in love and sexuality, but also in memory: both ancestral (his maternal grandfather tendered for the building of Sydney Harbour Bridge) and aboriginal, inviting us to connect with what it means to return to a place of primordial connection, both for ourselves and for the planet.’

Alchemy with Jay Ramsay

Archive Publishing are proud to announce the re-publishing of Jay Ramsay’s luminous work on the Art of Transformation.
Alchemy is best known as the age-old science of turning base metal into gold. But it is much more: essentially, it is a path of self-knowledge, unique in the Western tradition, with vital relevance for the modern world. The symbols of Alchemy lie deep in the collective unconscious, in the world of dreams and imagery: the practices of alchemy are rooted in an understanding of the oneness of spirit and matter through which we celebrate our sexuality and spirituality.
Jay Ramsay takes us step by step through the stages of the alchemical process using a wide range of original exercises to create a memorable journey that challenges, inspires and transforms us at every stage. We too can be kings and queens: we too, once we leave our dross behind, are gold.
Buy the book here – archivepublishing.co.uk/

Jay Ramsay has two books with Awen –   Places of Truth: journeys into sacred wilderness

and    Soul of the Earth: the Awen anthology of eco-spiritual poetry (editor and contributor)

For Brendan Cox – a poem

Written on William Blake’s birthday, 28 November, by Jay Ramsay.

The Metro, 24.11.16

We have nothing…the folded headline begins

until you open it out but pity

having lost the love of your life, your wife,

in the most brutal way imagineable

you stand as so few men could, or can,

and forgive.


Look at his eyes and goatee beard:

there’s no one there. Look at yours

and there’s presence, warm as your soul, strong;

there is I and all you stand in

that stands in you.


Goatee Satan and The Man,

and she is a living sacrifice

in realms we cannot understand

without him. She’s Magdalene-alive,

crucified by our ignorance

by the hate that can only divide—


and out of the wound pours love.

How can we sanction it ?

Cuchulain fights the sea, and fails.

How can we see the plan ?


There is a higher order in everything,

that’s how the light gets in

beyond our reckoning


but not our life as it fills

with its all-seeing eye that is

this I in you, Brendan.


The eyes of everyone else in the picture

around your oasis of family

lost as if in a dream—the policemen, the priest’s

in the flashlight and the motordrive,

but not you and yours. It is extraordinary.


You stand and you have everything

and we have, because of you.

No moral high ground or platitude

but a universe of love—


gathering towards its invisible crest like a wave

flooding all reason, all rationale


that a man can stand like this

and forever, and now, and again.
Jay Ramsay
28 Nov. 2016

(William Blake’s birthday)

Lindsay Clarke reading in Stroud

By Jay Ramsay

lindsay-picLindsay Clarke is the foremost novelist of the imagination and the spirit alive today in Britain. He was the winner of the Whitbread Prize for Fiction for The Chymical Wedding (1989), and his most recent novel The Water Theatre (2010) continues his preoccupation with modern psychological initiation and personal transformation. He is a gripping storyteller as well.

Lindsay has always been a poet in essence. His last collection, Stoker, which recalls his upbringing in Halifax, is now followed by a return to alchemical themes in the figure of Hermes (aka Mercurius), traditionally the winged messenger of the gods. A Dance with Hermes (Awen, 2016) is the result.

He will be launching this book with a 40 min. presentation on Thursday 1 December at Black Book Cafe, Nelson Street, Stroud. I will be reading from Places of Truth now re-set in its 3rd edition. The evening will include Q&A and is also a celebration of Awen Publications, founded in Bath by Kevan Manwaring and recently taken over by novelist and ecologist Anthony Nanson (Deep Time, 2015). Doors open 7.30 for 8.00 p.m. start. Entry £5 (redeemable against the cost of a book). Please visit wwww.awenpublications.co.uk.

Those of you who saw Lindsay present at the Awen Forum Subscription Rooms series in 2012-13 will remember how enjoyable he is to listen to, and I hope you will join us for this rich evening.