Happy Sunday one and all!
As you are reading this I will be headed to the Isle of Skye for a week (the great thing about being able to schedule posts). Today I will be doing a review of a poetry collection; something slightly different from the usual literary fiction that I read. I am somewhat of a poetry novice, knowing very little about the technicalities of poetry, however I enjoy it nonetheless.
The poems in this collection celebrate dirt, and try to bring out the beauty within the muck and the soil of society. Sex and religion weave their way through the collection in a manner that grounds them. Relationships and language are brought low to reveal a power at the core of what makes us human. Many of the poems were written during and inspired by Billy’s time travelling through India. Beauty and humor are the threads that bind these poems together. Despite everything that pushes against them, they are all part of the same dance. (Goodreads)
I was lucky enough to meet William Letford and hear him recite some of the poems from this collection at the Edinburgh Book Festival 2016, where he actually signed my copy of the collection.
I have to start off by saying that William Letford has an infectious personality, and that seeing him and hearing him reciting his own work and discussing the inspirations that he drew from and the meanings behind his work added to the experience I had with this collection. There is something to be said for seeing the person behind the poetry and Letford was not who I expected.
Letford’s poetry is diverse, ranging in topic, length and form. He writes about love, travel exploits, his roots in Scotland and more. I loved the changes and how every poem was different and it kept things fresh, as I hate when collections have poems that are too similar in what they may discuss or HOW they discuss it.
Letford writes beautiful poetry and can go from poignant to humour to beautiful description and back again. In addition, while being beautiful and still and oftentimes metaphorical, these poems are not hard to digest or understand. I oftentimes find certain poetry goes straight over my head as it is trying almost too hard to be descriptive or symbolic etc. However, with Letford’s work he shows how beautiful the written word can be and in such an accessible way.
“There are all types of bodies.
If you’re lucky you’ll find someone whose skin
is a canvas for the story of your life.
Write well. Take care of the heartbeat behind it.”
One of the most interesting things that I noted while reading his collection was the use of Scottish dialects. This is something that Letford was asked about at the book festival, and went on to discuss, saying that when and if he uses a more informal and conversational Scottish tone is unintentional and comes naturally to him when writing certain pieces. I loved how he tended to gravitate to Scottish dialect when he was writing a more comedic piece, or one about home or his past in Scotland. However as many of his pieces were about travelling and his experiences while travelling it was noticeable that he tended to use less of said dialect.
In short this collection is beautiful, lyrical, honest, accessible, funny and quote worthy. I would recommend this to anyone new to poetry and who is looking for a short collection with a diverse range of pieces.