i. m. tom leonard (1944-2018)

The wonderful Maria Sledmere asked me to write for the festive issue of Spamzine (‘a print publication of poet-internet poetry’) and I was honour to write about the much-missed working-class intellectual, Tom Leonard (1944-2018). I was prompted to write for the anniversary of his passing, but in reality I had thought of him and his work so frequently during 2019 that the date wasn’t so much the prompt as was his constant presence. And it was presence that I wanted to meditate on in this essay – his extraordinary feel for the touch of the real – together with my somewhat-vague but persistent sense of his work’s overlapping with my thinking about the radical work of caring and home-making, which of course now figures prominently in my experience. So this is an essay on Tom, on light, on presence and on mothering. You can read it here.

what’s nation got to do with it?

Dear friend and former colleague, Jane Goldman, generously asked me to contribute to her response when the journal, Contemporary Women’s Writing, asked her to write a piece on ‘Scottish Women’s Poetry’ for a Special Issue. With typical intellectual verve and disruption, Jane used this as an opportunity to ask many people to join with her in asking: ‘WHY I CHOOSE POETRY? WHAT’S NATION GOT TO DO WITH IT? WHAT’S GENDER GOT TO DO WITH IT?’ and thereby ‘deliver a multiplicitous essay-poem lubricated by [those] responses’. This is my contribution. Thank you Jane. Really looking forward to the issue.