Alyson Hallett is a prize-winning poet and Hawthornden Fellow whose latest books are Toots (Mariscat Press, 2017), and Walking Stumbling Limping Falling (Triarchy Press, 2017) a conversation with walking artist Phil Smith. Alyson’s poetry has been carved into Milsom Street pavement in Bath, into a companion stone in the Peak district and etched into a library window in Bristol. A commitment to collaboration and embedding text in public places is central to her practice. She has worked, and continues to work, with dancers, musicians, scientists, visual artists and sculptors.
Besides publishing six books and pamphlets of poetry, Alyson has also written drama and an audio-diary for BBC Radio 4; an essay on Chalk for BBC Radio 3; drama for Sky Television; a book of short stories. She has a practice-based PhD in poetry, and is a freelance lecturer at the University of the West of England and Falmouth University. She has taught with the Arvon Foundation, runs a private mentoring programme, and gives workshops and readings in the UK and abroad.
Since 2001, Alyson has curated the international poetry-as-public-art project, The Migration Habits of Stones, and has sited work in the UK, USA and Australia. In 2010, she was the UK’s first poet-in-residence in a university geography department as part of the Leverhulme Trust’s artist-in-residence scheme. Six Days in Iceland (Dropstone Press), a book of poetry, photographs and scientific text written in collaboration with Professor Chris Caseldine, resulted from this.
Before writing full time, Alyson worked as a cleaner; a postwoman; a housekeeper on the Isle of Iona; a mental health worker for MIND and the Richmond Fellowship. Joining a creative-writing group in Pollokshields Library, Glasgow, led to the moment when she dared to change direction and follow her dreams.