‘Staunin Ma Lane’ by Brian Holton

Staunin Ma Lane book coverChinese verse translated into mellifluous Scots with an English crib is a personal triumph for the Sino-Scottish makar Brian Holton who is the creator of Staunin Ma Lane (Standing Alone) [Bristol: Shearsman Books, 2016].  An interest has to be declared.  I pushed my cousin Brian in his pram and it has clearly done him a great deal of good. Read more ...

Quoting Burns

Way back in the 1950s I was a freelance reporter for a BBC Radio Scotland programme called “Scope” presented by, interestingly, an architect called Michael Laird. My job was to go off somewhere and ask people in the street some daft questions. The programme then edited the answers into an amusing collage and I banked a cheque for four guineas, (£4.20 in today’s debased coinage). Read more ...

The Dark Earth and the Light Sky

Over the year, I have been on a journey, tracing another man’s footsteps. I finished the journey this morning. Now I have three books on my shelf, each a source of pleasure and satisfaction such that I already plan to retrace my steps from the beginning. I have been walking alongside the First World War poet and one of that destructive conflict’s victims: Edward Thomas. And the reference to walking is deliberate. Thomas walked as much as Wordsworth and worked demotic language into his verse just as effectively. Read more ...