Ovid wrote his famous stories of change just before being banished from the Roman home that he loved, and after travelling throughout Italy, observing its many diverse and vibrant landscapes, probably including the volcanic Aeolian Isles where volcaes would throw molten lava into turquoise seas, whipped by the winds of the god who made his home there. It was to these rapturous, Edenic and violently creative islands that JL Williams ventured to write the poems in this collection, poems inspired both directly by Ovid's tales and informing a new story that emerges from the old-a post-apocalyptic vision of the earth where metamorphoses engender rebirth from the ashen wasteland that man has made of the world. Ovid expressed the truth that to change is to survive, and this message erupts out of the poems in Condition of Fire, whose language and images strive to communicate in new ways the essential elements of myth, creation and the burning breath of being.
JL Williams was born in New Jersey and studied at Wellesley College and on the MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Since moving to Edinburgh in 2001 she has been active both as a poet and in the performing arts as a director and producer. She was awarded a grant from the Scottish Arts Council for a poetry collaboration entitled chiaroscuro pentimenti with composer Martin Parker and artist Anna Chapman. In 2009, the Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary from the Scottish Arts Trust allowed her to travel to the Aeolian Isles where she wrote the poems that would become her first collection, Condition of Fire.