‘The Third Mandarin’ by Frank Kuppner

  199. As they walk slowly among the trees, it occurs to them That they might well never meet again in this disordered world. And so, simultaneously, each turns to the other To say what he really thinks of his dear friend’s vast output of poetry.   It seems de rigueur now for a reviewer […]

‘Equal Night’ & ‘Circulation’ by Graham Fulton

Considered side by side, Fulton’s 2017 collection dealing with the illness and death of his mother, Equal Night, and his latest collection, Circulation, look a little at first like the masks of Sock and Buskin. The former is strongly elegiac whereas the latter, like the title suggests, is about creative blood and playfulness beginning to […]

‘The First World Congress of Scottish Literatures in Glasgow 2014’ eds. Müller, Schwittlinsky, and Walker

This edited volume of written up papers given at the first World Congress of Scottish Literatures in Glasgow in 2014 is the latest volume in the ‘Scottish Studies International’ series from Peter Lang: International Academic Publishers. Two words of particular note in the previous sentence:  ‘international’ and ‘literatures’ (plural), and the double-edged quality of the […]

‘The Winter Book’ by Alan Riach

The heft, both physical and intellectual, of The Winter Book reminds me of a phrase Norman MacCaig once used about his writing practices as a poet. He said that he spent his long holidays in Assynt as an excuse to ‘fatten up’ his ‘camel’s hump’ of images to live off (i.e. write poems) through the […]

‘Facing the Persians’ by Ian A. Olson

This first collection of poems by ‘long-retired doctor’ Ian Olson is the fruit of some sixty or more years of writing and as such, it really is a gallimaufry of styles, moods and subjects. The language accordingly also ranges from the formal and rhyming, to pawky, free and colloquial. It begins far back in classical […]

‘Fugitive Colours’ by Liz Lochhead

Fugitive Colours follows Lochhead’s 2011 publication of selected poems A Choosing, but it is really her first full collection since 2003’s The Colour of Black & White. Coming, as it does, at the tail-end of her time as Scots Makar, the book could be seen as a celebratory swansong for her public role but also […]

‘Redomones and Eye to the Future’ by Alan MacGillivray

Redomones is Alan MacGillivray’s fifth poetry collection. But it is the first substantial contact this particular reviewer has had with MacGillivray’s work, beyond individual poem appearances in magazines and papers such as The Herald. This is arguably not a disadvantage, as Redomones is a real gallimaufry of moods, subjects and styles (from elegy to ballad) all connected by an […]


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