Merrie Joy Williams

Open Windows (2019)


In Merrie Joy Williams’ debut, the body is an instrument; grief, a house with no door. A gift box ballerina prompts a rude awakening. Mining the hidden quiddity in things, Williams explores the nature of memory, teenage rites of passage, religious dogma over true faith: ‘all free verse is sin in mum’s eyes… all our hymns rhymed’. Familial legends are unravelled and respun, rendering a gift of the present. Here, we bear witness to love, loss, confusion, joy – often found in an agile turn, unexpected last line. The universal speaks in thumbnail details, makes us laugh where we might cry. Open Windows illuminates the threshold moments in life. No matter how misty the window we gaze through, on every page there’s a fresh gleam of insight.

ISBN: 9781906742881-1-1 Category: Tags: , ,

Praise and Poems


I watch dawn announce itself
its soft homily blooming
on the church’s stone face.

Light, its most watched sermon.
I needed it today.

Birds woo the hours with elaborate calls.
Blood rises from the spines of waking terraces,
into a palette of purples and pinks, ribboned.

Who cannot find a gift at dawn?
Some small mercy given flight
by its own large hands?


‘A book that lulls you with the lilt of its exuberant tales of the joys and trials of family, coming of age and adventures in friendship, sex and love; before it leads you into meditations on the heart, spirit and mortality. A beautifully controlled combination of the quotidian and lyrical, ‘Open Windows’ is a surprising, engaging and moving read.’  – Jacqueline Saphra

‘A remarkable collection that is visceral and wise. I feel the raw innocence of being in relationship – with ourselves; but also fusing with and unfusing from others. To read this collection is to feel the life of a woman who has kept her eyes open throughout.’   –  Shamshad Khan


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