WILLIAM BONAR was born in Greenock and grew up in the neighbouring shipbuilding town of Port Glasgow. He is a graduate of the universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde and he gained a distinction on the MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University in 2008. He recently retired after working in education for 30 years and is now a full-time writer. He is a founder member of St Mungo’s Mirrorball, Glasgow’s network of poets and lovers of poetry, and was a participant on Mirrorball’s Clydebuilt mentoring scheme (2009-10) under the tutelage of Liz Lochhead. His sequence, Visiting Winter: A Johannesburg Quintet, originally published in Gutter 06, was chosen for the Scottish Poetry Library’s online anthology Best Scottish Poems of 2012 and he was shortlisted for a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2015. Offering won the James Kirkup Memorial Poetry Prize for 2014.

The pamphlet, of which these poems form a part, is published on 23rd April and can be purchased from Red Squirrel Press for £6.00 with free postage and packing.


On Hearing of Your Suicide Twenty Years Late

that May morning
naked on the bed

sash open to
sound and sun

taking our timeBilly's Cover Cover
making it last



Marrakech was afternoons
of new-married sex
cooling showers    sleep 

evenings of cumin and lemon-scented lamb
cous-cous    orange juice    sweet mint tea
around lamp-lit story-tellers
young men in djallabies or fatigues
rapt in the telling    held hands

Marrakech was mornings
with official guides
who excused themselves for prayer
and asked
Combien des femmes
avez-vous    monsieur?



in my scriptorium
scraping botched text

I would draw you from behind
standing    arms raised

your hair high    your neck
long and brown    your swimmer’s back

spine flexed    the cleft curves
of your arse

your tapered elegance
your skin

fingertipped vellum



at Bellanoch’s bridges
The Add meets
the tide    its spill
frozen on salted moss

last week’s
snow still silts
Moine Mhor
with crystal

we walk the towpath
between canal and river

blue light lies
in this shallow bowl
pink washes
through loch and sky

five westering geese
honk like schoolboys
light thins itself
until stars show through

you say    what a strange thing
holding hands
aye    still strange
still a thinning



If you wish to read the poems in page view, the following link will take you to a PDF – William Bonar 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. http://www.glasgowreviewofbooks.com

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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. 

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