July 25, 2009
Two hot new chapbooks have been released by Forest Publications, the short story Find it in the Dictionary by Fiona Morrison, and a collection of poems, Cover Story by Dave Coates.
Morrison’s story follows the lives of a brother and sister, disjointed over the years by war, pregnancy, illness and the insistent trauma of the family dictionary.
Here’s a taste:
dandelion, dan’di-li-en, n. a common yellow-flowered composite (Taraxacum officinale) with jagged-toothed leaves. [Fr. dent de lion, lion-tooth]
It was the first word she’d looked up in the dictionary and the first flower she’d ever picked. How the white whiskers that floated softly through the wind were anything like lions’ teeth she did not know. As she lay on the ground to reach the mass of white flowers that strained upwards to break free from the edge of the towering cliff, she had leaned in for the kill and blown them completely bare. All except one. Her hair hung over the side of the dark rock, striving to dip its curling ends into the black waves, but it was given to the wind and not the sea as she stood up quickly with the largest dandelion – the chosen one – and ran home.
Dave’s collection comprises ten poems, arranged in three loose sections – Life, Death and Belfast. Here is one from the Belfast chapter, “Giant’s Causeway”:
Mist crawled upwards from the surface,
the cluttered sky turned grey and we retired
from the tectonic sea and gathering smirr
to a pub you knew. Only the birds knew
what the sea had said, what it kept to itself.
Earlier that morning a hundred feet above the basalt,
I caught my breath and followed you
a few steps behind along the machair.
You gave nothing away as you gathered
palm-sized stones from a cairn by the cliff-face.
I named haresfoot, razorbills, chimney-stacks,
causeway tales. You sent skimmers over
the cliffs as I yammered, disguising
cover-stories in the tide’s howl and skirl.
Both books and more are available at The Forest Shop — 3 Bristo Place, Edinburgh, 0131 220 4538 and will be availible on-line shortly.