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Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 380

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 12:46

On To America (a moment in the sea)

The grey flat of the bottomless sea in
to which the boy in yellow longs steps gin
gerly. Stretching out into grey sullen
? of possibilities. He is
only 9 years old, possible futures lie
Before him on the sullen grey and
on to America should he decide.
Are you going to swim, or not? She calls
Look! The dog is swimming. Look!
      He is on-
ly 9 years old. He is in the sea, in his
yellow Longs; alone; and she is filming. 

William Cowan

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: Moving House

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 11:05

Theophilus Kwek is a prolific writer with five collections to his credit. His latest, Moving House, articulates a preoccupation with the themes of migration, belonging, colonial history, and the turbulent politics of the present.

Kwek is uniquely qualified to tackle these themes. He grew up in Singapore, graduated with a degree in history and politics, and has been involved with the plight of refugees, co-editing Flight, an anthology of poetry in response to the European refugee crisis.  As a migrant student in the UK, Kwek suffered the consequences of xenophobia by way of a racist attack, which he touches upon in the poem ‘Occurrence’:

Nothing much then, now nearly unseen –
a cut beneath the eye. A bruise, fading
to skin, frown and furrow, fine print […]

These lines exemplify how expertly a poem can marry form with meaning. The line endings trace the journey from a physical experience to a written one – ‘unseen’, ‘fading’ to ‘fine print’. This movement is felt in other poems as well. ‘Witness’, the opening poem details an accident that happens in the rush of everyday life:

She was already gone. And so were we,
drawn on by the bus’ trajectory […]

 

This is an excerpt of a review by Skendha Singh of Theophilus Kwek's Moving House'sFor more information on Kwek at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

Categories: News

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: Lamping for Pickled Fish

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 10:58

If there could ever be the right – the only – title for this poetry collection, then Lamping for Pickled Fish might be it, setting the reader up as it so neatly does for the illicit, for the hidden and obscure and for journeys into unexpected spaces.

This is Beth McDonough’s first solo pamphlet and it contains 29 poems, a few of which have been published elsewhere. In subject matter they divide roughly into three areas – the natural world, her travels in the Canary and Balearic Islands and family. Most of them are short, only a handful extending to a second page.

McDonough is a forager, avid in pursuit of the wild jewels of shoreline and hedgerow in her native north-east Scotland and a maker. A maker of jam, from Ronnie’s stolen rhubarb; of soused herring in the title poem; of a young adult from a toddler; and, effortlessly, of words from other words.

She works her language hard, pressing nouns and adjectives into service as verbs. In ‘Marmalade,’ where ‘fluff thickened pith’ places the poem firmly in the reader’s mouth, ‘juices loch onto boards,’ enabling an agile leap from the bitter zest of those Seville oranges, to sunshine in a Scottish winter....


This is an excerpt of a review by Alison Bell of Beth Mcdonough's Lamping for Pickled Fish. For more information on Mcdonough at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage

Categories: News

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: A God at the Door

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 10:51

As a much admired poet, writer and dancer, Tishani Doshi leaves little of the arts world untouched. Countries of the Body was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection while Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award. From politics, womanhood to the roots that ground us, this is a rewarding journey to undertake as a reader. Doshi’s characteristic wit, spikiness and vigour are on display in her new collection:

What more can be said about women?
Leave it. If history were a picture show
and we kept editing the bits we didn’t like
snip       snip       snip […]

(‘Instructions on Surviving Genocide.’)

From the very outset, these poems require an inquisitive mind. To turn history and ancestry on its head, they invite reflections on the misjudgement of legality and the failure of patriarchy.... 

This is an excerpt of a review by Mhari Aitchison of Tshani Doshi's A God At The Door  (Bloodaxe forthcoming, April 2021). For more information on Doshi at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage

Categories: News

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: The Conversation of Sheep

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 10:36

I’ve never read a poetry book that has made me laugh out loud the way Hugh McMillan’s 2018 collection did (it is possible I’m reading the wrong poetry). But The Conversation of Sheep is more than just sheep jokes, and therein lies its brilliance. The artistry and rhythm of these short, mostly page-long poems is contemplative and slow, but their content is incisive and witty, with pathos hanging over everything like the mist in the photos that accompany them.

The first thing to belie the humour, and possibly the reason I was so surprised to find myself laughing, is the somewhat menacing black and white cover photo depicting the silhouette of a herd of sheep on a low hill. The monochrome contrast recalled for me first world war imagery, as if the sheep were climbing from the trenches in a last attempt on the front.

Each poem in The Conversation of Sheep is paired with a with black and white photograph by Michael Robertson, a farmer neighbour of McMillan’s. These are, if I am not mistaken, real photographs, the kind made with film in a dark room. They are grainy, shadowy and evocative and are carefully curated alongside the poems...

This is an excerpt of a review by Ellie Julings of Hugh Mcmillan's The Conversation of Sheep. For more information on Long at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

Categories: News

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 379

Monday 22 February 2021, 14:13

Parkhill Wood

Bluebells crowd the woodland scene
Ragged Robins murmur sunlit pink
beyond the wood shades of green
demand we stop to smile to think

here Ragged Robins sunlit pink
make shadow spaces come alive
demand we stop to smile to think
how dark and light together thrive

shadow spaces come alive
branches whisper above the blue
dark and light together thrive
the chinkling burn meanders through

branches whisper above the blue
the eye caressed by shades of green
the chinkling burn meanders through
Bluebells crowd the woodland scene

George W Colkitto

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map
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