Poetry

My poem ‘Beach’ featured as part of Moira Buchanan’s art exhibition ‘All Washed Up’, which ran in December 2016 and January 2017 at the Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine. Moira’s works included photography and works on handmade paper. ‘Beach’ features in a video installation (video 1) which you can see here.

A glimpse of Moira Buchanan’s ‘Sounds of Arran’, mixed media on handmade paper. Part of her ‘All Washed Up’ exhibition, 2016/7.

In the days before in-house washing machines, women used to trudge their laundry – often on their pram – to the local washhouse, or ‘steamie’, in the public bathhouses in urban Scotland. In July 2016, my poem ‘Indigo’ featured in a poetry event celebrating Govanhill and other steamies, and was printed in a commemorative pamphlet. Here I am, waving my arms around to describe the technicalities of laundry operations, prior to reading ‘Indigo’ to the audience.

Did you know that Stanza is mapping Scotland in poetry? Stanza is the biggest and best celebration of poetry in Scotland, and one of the leading poetry festivals in the UK and beyond. The festival is held in St Andrews in March. Here’s a link to their website

Now, the Stanza blog has set out to cover the entirety of Scotland with pins and poetry. I was delighted that they accepted my poem ‘Social Climbing: the Bearsden/Drumchapel Divide’ for their blog at the end of September 2014. You can read my poem if you click on that link. There are almost a hundred poems posted to the blog now. It’s a fabulous project and a great resource for anyone interested in poetry written in and about Scotland. I’ve snipped a quick shot of the way the map looks today and have posted that below. It’s well worth visiting the site itself.

Stanza poetry map of Scotland as at Oct 2014

Stanza poetry map of Scotland as at Oct 2014

Some years ago, three of my poems appeared in Glasgow-based magazine Cutting Teeth. Freight Books published my poem ‘Transience’ in The Knuckle End anthology in 2004, and five years later it was included in the Brownsbank anthology. In 2011, I took part in a charity fundraising writing production in the aftermath of the huge tsunami which struck Japan; Cargo Publishing included three of my haiku in A Thousand Cranes: Scottish Writers for Japan.

Recently, I’ve resurrected some of my draft poems from over the years, and have been sending them out. I’ve had some rejections (that’s the writing life!), but I’ve also had some acceptances, including two poems in From Glasgow to Saturn ezine issue 32, and a further two in The Istanbul Review. You can read the Glasgow to Saturn poems online here.

My poem War Bird appeared in Gutter 10 in February 2014.