READS OF THE YEAR 2016: David Ross Linklater
William Letford‘s Dirt (Carcanet, 2016) was one of my favourite publications this year for sure. He is one of the most exciting Scottish poets writing just now. You should really get yourself a copy, you won’t regret it. These are finely crafted, well measured, evocative poems: ‘A series of decisions have been made / the consequences of which will have / repercussions of great beauty’ – I mean, come on now.
I was also turned on to the American poet Frank Stanford earlier this year, his collected poems What About This (Copper Canyon Press, 2015) has been a revelation. He wrote with such a keen eye for the image. The way he describes the people and landscape of his rural Mississippi goes to the very marrow, transcending the page. Incredible work. Read his poem ‘The Snake Doctors‘.
Lastly, Those Other Times by Bess Ross (Birlinn, 2001); a collection of short stories by one of my favourite Scottish writers. I don’t think I’ve read many writers with a handle on describing the Highland way of life the way Bess has. I read these stories to feel closer to home, to the fields and farms, the shore and the rock pools.