CHRIS TORRANCE: Reading at Chapter Arts Centre Feb 4th 2016

Chris Torrance has been an inspiration to many writers: the model of a poet so single-mindedly dedicated to his craft, it’s as if poetry and human being had fused into one entity. His public readings, always meticulously planned and performed, often with the aid of a bottle of Chardonnay, seem to be all of a piece with this. It is obvious that, for him, a reading is never just a reading: it’s a significant existential moment (perhaps even, who knows? a cosmic one), worth taking seriously, worth worrying about and giving time to. We thought it would be a good idea to record a recent performance, so we set up the camera in Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff on the occasion of a launch of Slipping the Leash – a tri-cameral anthology featuring his own work and that of his long-standing comrades in poetry, Graham Hartill and Phil Maillard. Unfortunately the acoustic in the room is slightly echoey, so apologies for that.


Chris Torrance was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1941. In the late 1940’s his parents took him down to Surrey. He helped edit the magazine ORIGINS DIVERSIONS, and his work began to appear in various little mags and anthologies. By 1970 he was living in a rural area of South Wales, just north of the coalfield, where he began his multi-volume series, THE MAGIC DOOR. From 1976 – 2001 Torrance ran an evening class – ADVENTURES IN CREATIVE WRITING – for U.C. Cardiff, from which emerged the group and magazine CABARET 246. Since the mid 1980’s, with partner Chris Vine working as HEATPOETS, he has created a series of CD’s of poetry and music. A large collection – PATH – is awaiting publication.



  • steven hitchins

    thanks for publishing this, lyn – ive been wanting to hear it again, especially those last lines: ‘the bard / speaking or singing / in mathematical formulae / pushing him in many directions at once / the moist web / a rippling sunfield / flowering / proprioception’ – such a sharp reading

  • Aida Birch

    Totally absorbing, a magical journey


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