Joe’s latest book is The Taking Part, a short collection of poems on the theme of sport and games, encompassing television quiz shows, pub sports, and board games, as well as more traditional sports like football, cricket and athletics.
As Joe says: “Sport and poetry might not seem like an obvious combination, but the best sport stories are really stories about people, and I think that’s what these poems are too. Games and competition have been an important part of our culture throughout human history. They can be central to our relationships, our memories, and our ambitions, and I wanted to write about all of those things.”
The Taking Part was published by Maytree Press in 2021.
“The Taking Part is in many ways like a satisfying sports match; it has those crowd-pleasing moments, getting caught up in the dramas and the tragedies, taking pleasure in the facts and stats and being impressed by the superb display of skills. This pamphlet collection therefore will likely have appeal to poetry season-ticket holders and newcomers to the field alike.”
“Joe Williams is a subterranean explorer. He’s a miner drilling down into areas not oft-renowned for their rich poetic seams, seeking sustainable sources of inspiration to keep us informed, entertained and moved by his wry perception. The good news is that fresh from his newest exploration, The Taking Part, Joe has returned to the surface with a haul of poems about sports and games that shine like proverbial diamonds. His canary of truth and illumination is very much alive and ready to keep us safe. (No animals were harmed in the making of this extended and tortuous metaphor.)”
“Joe is as much an entertainer as a poet. He wants to make you chuckle a little in between the more dramatic moments which will inevitably tug at your heartstrings along the way. I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you took part by reading this often moving and funny pamphlet.”
“This poetry pamphlet made me laugh, cry and wallow in nostalgia from memories of sporting days gone by. Who would have thought that a poem listing football results would bring tears to my eyes. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, there is something for everyone in this very enjoyable poetry pamphlet.”
Penalty Shootout in Zero Gravity
(from The Taking Part)
It was Barry’s idea, so
he only has himself to blame.
For all the thrill of orbital flight,
of seeing the Earth from space,
those journeys are so damn boring.
I admit to sneaking the ball in,
and that Barry was winding me up.
The running commentary didn’t help,
calling me Gareth Southgate,
him being Andreas Köpke.
No one could have predicted
the ball would hit the airlock button,
just when Barry was leaping up,
trying to stop my rocket blast,
straight to the top left corner.
Perhaps he’ll be a hero yet,
get a glove to an asteroid
hurtling towards the Earth.
The slightest of deflections,
nudging it over the bar.