Monday, 29 September 2008

Introducing the October Readers - 1. Hamish Whyte

The next readings at the Great Grog are on Sunday 12th October from 8pm. Here's the first of four introductions to the readers:

Hamish Whyte was born near Glasgow where he lived for many years before moving to Edinburgh in 2004. He is a poet, editor, translator and former librarian. His most recent poetry publication is Window on the Garden (essence/botanic press) and a new collection is due from Shoestring Press in December 2008. He runs Mariscat Press, publishing poetry, and has edited many anthologies of Scottish literature. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Scottish Literature, Glasgow University, and was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Writing Fellowship in 2007. Currently reviewing crime fiction for Scotland on Sunday.

Angel, Torridon

Hi there, says the biker girl
in the garden of the last house
in Alligin, as I trudge past
with my new haversack
and silly sun hat. She smiles:
long red hair, big in leathers.
From the seat up the hill
I look back and see her
still standing at the gate
the Harley against the wall.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Introducing the September 2008 Readers - 4. Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt was born in Mexico in 1949. He was educated at Harvard and Oxford and is now Professor of Poetry at the University of Glasgow, editorial director of Carcanet Press and general editor of PN Review. He has written novels, poetry and literary history, and is an anthologist. The Resurrection of the Body is his most recent collection (Smith/Doorstop 2006).

'His father was a baker . . .’
for A.G.G

His father was a baker, he the youngest son.
I understand they beat him, and they loved him.

His father was a baker in Oaxaca:
I understand his bakery was the best

And his three sons and all his daughters helped
As children with the baking and the pigs.

I can imagine chickens in their patio,
At Christmastime a wattled turkey-cock, a dog

Weathered like a wash-board, yellow-eyed,
That no one stroked, but ate the scraps of bread

And yapped to earn its keep. I understand
The family prospered though the father drank

And now the second brother follows suit.
I understand as well that love came

Early, bladed, and then went away
And came again in other forms, some foreign,

And took him by the heart away from home.
His father was a baker in Oaxaca

And here I smell the loaves that rose in ovens
Throughout a childhood not yet quite complete

And smell the fragrance of his jet-black hair,
Taste his sweet dialect that is mine too,

Until I understand I am to be a baker,
Up before dawn with trays and trays of dough

To feed him this day, next day and for ever --
Or for a time -- the honey-coloured loaves.

(from 'The Resurrection of the Body')

Other readers on Sunday 14th September:
Helena Nelson
Dorothy Baird
Charlotte Runcie

Friday, 5 September 2008

Introducing the September 2008 Readers - 3. Helena Nelson

Helena Nelson runs HappenStance Press in the small hours and at the weekends. By day she teaches Communication and English at Adam Smith College, Fife. She is both poet and critic. Her book-length collection is Starlight on Water, Rialto, 2003 and her more frivolous pamphlet is Unsuitable Poems, 2005, HappenStance.


Born in the dark
shimmering, pure,
it wakes you at dawn.
Everything else is dirty beside it—
the swings, the play-park, the shoddy gardens.

Cold in its beauty, its calculation,
work shines clean.
Driven honour, harder than love.
Begin, begin.

The other September readers are:
Michael Schmidt
Dorothy Baird
Charlotte Runcie