KATHRINE SOWERBY lives in Glasgow where she runs tell it slant, a poetry bookshop, and makes fourfolda curated publication. Her poems and translations have most recently been published in Gutter, New Writing Scotland, Under the Radar, Poetry Salzburg Review, A Bird is not a Stone and Aesthetica. Kathrine’s background is in visual art, she won a 2013 New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust, and has taken part in a Highlight Arts poetry translation project in Lahore, Pakistan.


Coastline Disturbance

Everything was dirty, crumbling, when we arrived on the island:
a storm pressing the process of dissolution underground.

We found a reconstruction of intimacy behind the church
charged with its own image. Reasons for this reflect truth

threatened by badly made contradictions and imprecision.
It became obvious at the time what was going on.

Low ceilinged bluntness as I’ve never observed. Even today. Flooding
into widespread beliefs so entrenched nobody understands.

Tune in with the temper, count the burning ideals.
A paperback refers to survival as spiritual.

We emerge after midnight filling the darkness with living.
Disappointments seem further across the ice

casting uneasy attitudes from the uncomfortable peninsula
north, flapping, into the waterway.



New World Monkey

Mechanics wave in the street, talk on their phones,
their conversations traveling through the air
to the room painted brown where a stereo plays
beating drums, sharp claps, a fork scraping
roughly across metal.

The monkey, its long white hair flowing over its shoulders,
moves its tongue across its lips and sings loudly:
it wants forests to travel through, soil to scrape its claws in.
It covers its eyes, bares its teeth like tusks, and bites
clean through the cord of the headphones.



Corridors and Caves

We build our beds in the rugged thickening of the fireplace,
where we excavate maze-like passages with our muzzles,
fleshy and soft.

Shin bones bearing the weight of firebrick and constant burning,
we work together like carpenters, perforating triangular sources of light
that capture warmth.

We store heat for long periods of cold weather and freezing fur, and lie
exhausted by heat-stress and smoke; such differences in temperature
can cause expansion.

The chimney cracks and we dream of escape, fruit bearing trees,
of cool brown trout ponds; our damp snouts fishing for smolt
by the banks of riffling streams.



If you wish to read the poems in page view, the following link will take you to a PDF – Kathrine Sowerby Poems

All works published by the Glasgow Review of Books are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and the journal reserves the right to be named as place of first publication in any citation. Copyright remains with the poet.



  1. […] 3 poems – Coastline Disturbance, New World Monkey, Corridors and Caves – published by Glasgow Review of Books. They are a few years old, these poems, so it’s great to see them in print. A new lease of life from the poetry editor Samuel Tongue. You can read them here. […]

Leave a Reply


The Glasgow Review of Books (ISSN 2053-0560) is an online journal which publishes critical reviews, essays and interviews as well as writing on translation. We accept work in any of the languages of Scotland – English, Gàidhlig and Scots.

We aim to be an accessible, non-partisan community platform for writers from Glasgow and elsewhere. We are interested in many different kinds of writing, though we tend to lean towards more marginal, peripheral or neglected writers and their work. 

Though, our main focus is to fill the gap for careful, considered critical writing, we also publish original creative work, mostly short fiction, poetry and hybrid/visual forms. 

Find us on: