‘His life-story has contemporary resonances, with the resurgence of the far right and what the French call fascisant mentality along with nativist protectionism in response to both pandemic and economic collapse. From his school days, Cairncross was a firm believer in (Scottish) Enlightenment values; he remained an exemplar of Davie’s Democratic Intellect.’
Books & Poetry
Edwin Morgan became Scotland’s first makar in 2004: a tribute to him on his centenary from his biographer. ‘He was an acrobat of words and identities. Perhaps his own identity as a gay man, risking censure or imprisonment through most of his life, encouraged that ability to shape-shift.’
What message do extravagant fireworks displays send in an age of climate emergency and conflict? Fay Young chooses a poem for peace at New Year instead
A selection of five poems for this general election in hard times. To shine a light on our better nature, to remember how many different people are responding to the urgent issues of 2019 with human kindness, concern, and courageous conscience.
For Nadine Aisha Jassat, poetry is activism. She used to used to whisper, “‘I’m a poet’, now I shout it from the rooftops and help others on their journey to shouting who they are, too.”
‘Makar: Stewart Conn prefers “that term’s more egalitarian ring than ‘laureate’, with its whiff of Parnassus.” Down on the ground, a poet among people not stuck up, high on the Mountain of Muses.’
Claire Askew’s delightful poem, is it escape or reality? Thanks to the noxious ill wind of Brexit, it seems, there’s a new demand for words with meaning, or meaningful ambiguity. Where better to find it than Best Scottish Poetry.
Taking a break from Brexit Fay Young finds subversive mischief in the poetry of Edinburgh Makars, as performed in Edinburgh’s Poetry Garden (aka St Andrew Square)
In his short story, The Nummer 14 Bus, James Robertson evokes the daily struggle played out on a bus ride through Scotland’s affluent capital. It could be a bus ride in any UK city.
Confronting hard facts, authors at the inaugural Tobermory Book Festival raise spirits even as they sound alarm bells. Fay Young finds both comfort and warning in the prose and poetry of Scottish writers gathering on Mull.