Category Archives: Poetry

Good news from the front line

(Also available as a podcast here) Front lines are on all our minds right now. I think of poetry as language’s front line, the place where things can at once be at their most considered and their most intense, raw … Continue reading

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Poetry path

In the hills a few miles outside our village of Birnam is a Camphill community. Here, on the Corbenic estate, 27 adults with learning difficulties live with their carers and a number of volunteers in 50 acres of agricultural land, … Continue reading

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The Weight

Sometimes you just have to start writing. I’m sorry if there’s a sense of déjà vu about those seven words, but this is another of those increasingly frequent days when as the (self-inflicted) deadline approaches I realise I have not … Continue reading

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Be prepared

It’s nearly book festival time again – by which I mean the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Every August, Charlotte Square Gardens sprout canvas and are transformed into a kind of intellectual carnival of some 800 events that seem between them … Continue reading

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Blind certainty

Yesterday I got an email from Stuart Delves, my fellow Dark Angel. It said: ‘In the library at The Royal Blind School on Monday and the first book I saw on the shelf was yours – in Braille!’ The book … Continue reading

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Gone fishing

Today my brother sent me a photograph he had taken some time ago of our father. He was on a fishing trip, standing on the bank of some indeterminate Highland river in old tweeds and the ever-present collar and tie, … Continue reading

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Love-hate (part 2)

What I love about Scotland is its solemn hills     What I hate about Scotland is the mist that shrouds them What I love about Scotland its empty moors     What I hate about Scotland is the rain that scours them What … Continue reading

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Love-hate (part 1)

There has been much talk of independence on the Dark Angels course this week. Location has a lot to do with it. Our venue, Moniack Mhor, the Arvon Foundation writers’ centre, is perched on a hilltop just above Loch Ness with … Continue reading

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Choosing your bees

We had our last Edinburgh International Book Festival board meeting of the year yesterday. It has been a fascinating year as world events swirl around us and we’ve found ourselves debating issues as diverse as whether to initiate a cultural … Continue reading

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