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The Knoxian Shore


Richard Dawson, musician of the month, provided a fine complement to the poetry, as on his previous Shore Poets appearances. In fact, to Richard goes the best rhyme of the evening: gregarious:areas. If I remember rightly, the lines were: “my pocketbook guide says they [bullfinches] are naturally gregarious; and found in cemeteries and heavily wooded areas.”

First poet was Rob Mackenzie. I particularly enjoyed his more surreal, quirkier poems, such as “Advice to the Lion-Tamer on becoming a Poetry Critic” and “Scotlands”. You can read his assessment of the evening here.

My set was almost exclusively unpublished poems, with the exception of “Wandelvakanties dicht bij huis” and “Sketchbook of a Trip to the Hebrides”, although perhaps we could also count “Waukrife”, which is about to be published in Lallans. I was slightly apprehensive about the two newest poems I read, partly because they were longer pieces. Moreover, one of them is in Scots with a fair bit of German thrown in–much too much to gloss–and the other is quite intense and concentrated. But both went down well.

We were fortunate that Alistair Findlay could bring forward his reading by a whole year to replace Kate Clanchy, who was suffering with bronchitis. Fortunate in more ways than one, because his reading was hugely entertaining. He read from Sex, Death and Football as well as from his new book, The Love Songs of John Knox. The latter poems dissected aspects of the Knox myth and today’s Scotland but were saturated in a wonderful surreal, postmodern wit. Sophisticated and imaginative stuff. Very Scottish. I bought the book and might blog on it a bit once I’ve had a proper read.

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