For me, writing poetry demands different parts of my resources, whether it is my feelings, my energy, my brain, my ego, my sense of self, or my sense of audience. But I’m probably at my happiest when I’m writing a poem. The process is what excites me the most, and when I’m done, it feels quite removed from me. I’m not reluctant to send it out, which I think some poets are – they fear rejection. I think having been an actress helps. Nobody likes rejection, but it’s not going to kill me. I’m quite pragmatic; I see it as just another part of the process.
The pandemic has taken a lot from everyone over this past year but my conversation with Tishani Doshi is one of those rare examples where a world in isolation and an increase of online connectivity turn into blessings. Tishani Doshi greets me from what seems like an oasis. I call online from my flat in Dundee to her, by the sea in India, Tamil Nadu – my morning, her afternoon. I speak to her just days after her appearance at StAnza poetry festival.
Citadel is Martha Sprackland’s first full collection, following two previous pamphlets (Glass as Broken Glass in 2017 and Milk Tooth in 2018) and a raft of poetry editing credentials. The slim volume carries fifty poems and has a density to the reading. This stems from the complex premise packed into the work: a historical reimagining Read More
The way we are forced to work around the pandemic unfortunately applies to the launching of poetry publications also; as Rachel Long’s My Darling from the Lions was published at the start of August, chances for public appearances, speaking and promoting her work are all but whipped away. The publication must speak for itself. Long Read More
‘Antlers of Water’—the phrase is MacCaig’s—and for several reasons it’s an apt title for this new anthology of ‘Writing on the Nature and Environment of Scotland’. That craggy map. A land that is as much water, as land. Those antlers, perfectly seen by the poet, delve deeply into what it is to live in Scotland. Read More
There is a cyclone fence between ourselves and the slaughter behind it we hover in a calm protected world like netted fish, exactly like netted fish. It is either the beginning or the end of the world, and the choice is ourselves or nothing. (‘Ourselves or Nothing’) Journalist, academic, memoir-writer, editor, poet and human rights’ Read More
Rachel Mann’s A Kingdom of Love is a collection of incantatory free verse that leaves a pattern of allusions for readers with religious inclinations to discover. The sensual and intellectual writing within demonstrates what language can do when tackling weighty issues such as the presence of God, the reality of death, suffering and love. In Read More
I Here is Shepstone Road, and here is the vinegar that runs from your mouth. Here is your black family car and your father idling in the front seat. Here is his broken elbow from his recent fall, the gravel still under his skin. Here again is the apple you ate this morning when you Read More
Tourists visit St Andrews for three main reasons; it’s the home of golf, the grounds of the renowned University where Prince Harry met Kate, and the StAnza international poetry festival in March, which bring poetry paramours to St Andrews’ historical streets. I reviewed Mary Jean Chan’s debut pamphlet, a hurry of english, some time ago Read More
Briar Mouth is the first published collection of poems by Helen Nicholson. She has had poems published in Gutter, and Magma magazines and shortlisted in the Bridport Creative Writing Competition, 2015. She lived near Fort William as a child, spending time in Skye, and now lives in Fife. These locations are clearly reflected in her Read More