Jay Ramsay has been a singular and influential presence on the poetry scene over the last 25 years and has increasingly come into his own as a voice for transformative spiritual, political and psychological awareness. He has been described as “England’s foremost transformation poet” (Caduceus magazine, 2007). He believes that poetry has a unique, catalytic role in our culture.
I think you have much to give, especially in your power of delighting and inspiring people with a love of poetry, of awakening and warming people’s hearts.
Kathleen Raine, referring to Chrysalis – the poet in you
Reading & Performance
Founder of ANGELS OF FIRE in London in the early 1980’s, with its immediate success in establishing poetry as an inclusive and community-based activity through its festivals, Jay has contributed to many other festivals and literary events, here and abroad. An experienced reader and performer, he is a powerful and lyrical presence, inspiring, uplifting, challenging and entertaining. He has often worked with musicians and dancers in addition.
Collections, Classic translations & Anthologies
As well as many individual collections including Kingdom of the Edge (New & Selected Poems 1980-1998; Element Books, 1999), some classic Chinese translations Tao Te Ching, I Ching, Kuan Yin; Element, 1993/HarperCollins, 1995), and two acclaimed prose books about alchemy (1997 and 2005), he has also edited five anthologies of New British Poetry: Angels of Fire - an anthology of radical poetry, commissioned by Andrew Motion (Chatto & Windus, 1986), Transformation - the poetry of spiritual consciousness (RGP, 1988), Earth Ascending - an anthology of living poetry, 55 Contemporary British Poets (Stride, 1997), Into the Further Reaches - an anthology of Contemporary British Poetry celebrating the spiritual journey (64 poets: PS Avalon, 2007) and Soul of the Earth - the Awen anthology of eco-spiritual poetry (Awen, 2011)
His latest collections launched is Out of Time‚ Poems 1998-2008 (PSAvalon), The Poet in You (O Books) and Places of Truth (Awen).
As Editor & Poet in residence
Jay has edited poetry for Kindred Spirit (1997-2004), Caduceus (2002-), and More to Life (2006). More recently he has been poet-in-residence at St James’ Church, Piccadilly in London (2005-6), with his sequence Anamnesis‚ the remembering of soul displayed in the church, and billposted on A3 sheets on the main street outside.
Anamnesis is now available on CD (recorded with Tibetan bowls) from www.lotusfoundation.org.uk, the website also has the texts of the 16 poems, written monthly over the period.
More recently he has completed a residency in the Sinai desert for the Makhad Trust (March 2010) with a sequence of poems and photographs (see www.makhad.org) which will be published and exhibited, and also for the church at North Stoke near Bath (July-August 2010) for Martin Palmer at ICOREC/ARC. www.arcworld.org
Chrysalis – the poet in you, & workshops
In addition to reviewing widely, Jay has also used his Oxford Eng. Lit. degree in his Chrysalis - the poet in you a 2 part correspondence course by post with students here and abroad (since 1990, listed in Macmillan’s Writer’s Handbook) now also partly available in book form. The course, as many students have testified, combines poetry with personal development in a unique and transformative way. He has also edited a number of individual collections for other poets as a result. At the same time, he has run his own workshops in poetry and performance here and abroad: in Ireland (since 1992), Portugal (with a British Council reading tour, 1996), Malta, Greece, and the USA (South Carolina, 2000: New Hampshire reading tour, 2001).
(see poetry section for details of workshops and ongoing groups).
As teacher & psychospiritual psychotherapist
He has been a regular tutor at Hawkwood College, the Adult Education College near Stroud in the Cotswolds as his homebase since 1993, offering workshops in poetry and personal development. He is also now a UKCP accredited psychosynthesis therapist and healer, in private practice in Stroud & London.
(see psychotherapy section for details of workshops and ongoing groups).
What Jay as a poet, performer & workshop leader can offer
Jay can offer an evening reading/performance, on his own, and with PHOENIX including its two women poets Gabriel Millar and Ella Whiting-Bloomfield‚ as well as other performers, also with music (harp, didgeridoo, Tibetan bowls, flute, ballaphon and djembe), as required.
He can offer an afternoon or day workshop The Poet in You (introductory), or Edges (more advanced) before and after the reading/performance.
For his other workshops in personal development, please visit Hawkwood College.
He can also offer a unique collaboration Dancing Poetry, originally initiated with Lara Fiedler (multi-media artist and qualified 5 Rhythms dance teacher) and now with Christina McLaughlin. Participants explore a deeper possibility through dance as a direct and memorable inspiration for writing, through working with ourselves, each other (in pairs), and the group (dancing together).
And with talented artist and ethnic musician Herewood Gabriel, Jay and Herewood can get any audience up on their feet to dance with their live djembe drumming (composed and improvised). They play at parties, weddings and festivals as well as for 5 Rhythms dance.
To contact Jay about any of the above, please go to contact page.