March 13, 2011
Gutter, features new Scottish writing and has been an exciting magazine to read since its very first issue. Not only have they published my work but this issue features some of my great and excellent friends. In here you’ll find new work from Kirstin Innes, Jason Donald, Rodge Glass, Anneliese Mackintosh, Dilys Rose, Colin Will, Jim Carruth, Brian Johnstone, Andy Jackson, Jane Flett, Brian Johnstone, Cynthia Rogerson, Andrew Philip, Nick Holdstock, Nalini Paul, Doug Johnstone, Pippa Goldschmidt, Ross McGregor, Alexander Hutchison, & Donald S Murray.
If you like new writing from Scotland — you’ll love this issue!
There’s also a super lovely review of Kei Miller’s recent novel and book of poetry both of which I also recommend. If anyone out there is looking for a great book of poems which isn’t mine — go get Kei’s ‘A Light Song of Light.’
Also, while I encourage you to buy this action-packed issue of Gutter (lord knows, we have to support these things) here is a condensed excerpt:
The debut collection by the Scottish Poetry Library’s American-born Reader in Residence is nothing short of excellent. There is a small-town, downtrodden, careworn feel but as Van Winkle bumps the reader along the back roads of country America – and Scotland – his urgent narrative voices rapidly dispel any air of despondency. These are compelling, self-assured, driven poems that shine a longing, elegaic laserbeam at their subjects.
Like a Bill Callaghan lyric, the poems tackle the grave stuff of human existence – love, loss, lust, religion, dislocation (spiritual and topographical), guilt – with a tenderly sardonic, noir-ish humour. Subjects from road kill, a fat boy, through a pastor’s son, deceitful lovers on September 11th, to the rain-soaked wishes of a condemned man are each addresssed by narrators who are edgy, uncomfortable and acutely aware of their failings.
It is hard to determine exactly how Van Winkle’s poems do their work, but they burrow into the reader’s skin like a mite to leave a persistent itch in the memory. The language is clean: WC Williams’ ‘plain American that cats and dogs can read’, but with syntax that is at times polysyndetic and mesmerising: as if a character out of Faulker, Twain or Cormac McCarthy character has stepped off the page to charm, disarm and then shock the reader …. This is a rich, incandescent book to keep at your bedside for dark winter nights.
You can buy ‘Tomorrow, We Will Live Here’ from Salt Publishing.
And get your copy of Gutter from their website.
You’ll find more reviews on my ‘reviews page‘.