Hugh McMillan

Hugh McMillan is from southwest Scotland. His work has been published widely and has won various prizes, most recently the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award in 2017. He has had seven full poetry collections, and numerous pamphlets. Not Actually Being in Dumfries: New and Selected poems was published by Luath Press in 2015. Luath also published Heliopolis, and The Conversation of Sheep in 2018. He has featured in many anthologies, and three times in the Scottish Poetry Library’s online selection Best Scottish Poems of the year. His poems have also been chosen three times to feature on National Poetry Day postcards, most recently in 2016. In 2017 he was writer in residence at the Harvard Summer School. In 2020 he was chosen as one of the SPL’s ‘Champions’, to commission new work. During lockdown he curated #plagueopoems.

Hugh McMillan


A Plague of Poems »

Hugh McMillan curates a short edition of his lockdown summer project

Sat 6 March - Wed 31 March | (All day) | FREE | StAnza Online

Poetry Loops »

A selection of filmpoems

Sat 6 March - Wed 31 March | (All day) | FREE | StAnza Online


Couple, New Cumnock

He’s drinking strawberry hooch
and adding to it
from a green vial
like in a horror film.

She is half sleeping on her
handbag. They both look
about fifteen but my compass
is off on these matters.

The train is passing
New Cumnock, and he takes
his parka off to cover her,
even though she already

has a parka, and strokes
her face under a curl
of blonde hair
that seems carelessly

arranged but has taken
a hundred thousand years
of human evolution
to place in exactly that

heartbreaking manner
on her white cheek.
I want to say cherish
and take care,

but somehow it’s like
a painting and I wouldn’t
say cherish and take care
to a masterpiece

even though it has flaws,
so I watch them instead
poised like this
while the rain comes down.

Hugh McMillan