Northwords Now poetry reviews

Northwords Now is an excellent Scottish literary journal, produced and published in the north of the country. Edited by the poet and academic, Chris Powici, Northwords Now brings good quality writng to the whole of the country and beyond.

Chris asked me to review some new poetry books and pamphlets, and these are available on-line, along with the latest edition of the magazine. Read the reviews in Northwords Now 31, but more importantly, buy the books and pamphlets that grab you and dip into the wonderful creative minds there. They are a pleasure.

Northwords Now issue 31 coverThese short reviews cover the work of ten poets: Ron Butlin; Eileen Carney Hulme; Jackie Kay; Stuart A Paterson; Sheena Blackhall; Donald Adamson; William Bonar; Robin Lindsay Wilson; Anne Connolly and Tracey Herd.

It is impossible for me to pick out a favourite among these; the voices mingle, refelcting the diverse way that Scotland is. From the intense, packed pamphlets of Sheena Blackhall to the spare, powerful poems of Eileen Carney Hulme to the diversity of Ron Butlin, there is such a lot to be digesting.

The new Makar, Jackie Kay, features beautifully here, and hers is one of several publications that are designed and typeset by Gerry Cambridge. When you read poetry, it is, of course, all about the words. However, the words that he brings so skillfully to the page sit easier, and are therefore better on the eye.

Poetry book and pamphlet production is not only about the poet, but about the commitment of those who produce the work, and Gerry’s artistry adds to the feel and shape wonderfully. The publishers too, to bring such a lot of poetry to our tables: Red Squirrel (ten years on); Mariscat; Indigo Dreams; Cinammon, among others (not forgetting diehard, of course).

While you are in Northwords Now 31, take the time to read Richie McCaffery’s review of In Casting Off, a short novel by J O Morgan, also in the on-line section. Other delights await in the paper version.