JOCK STEIN is a poet, piper and preacher from East Lothian. He has a degree in economics from Cambridge University, and brings experience of the Sheffield steel industry, people and places in East Africa, and the life of modern Scotland to his poetry. Since 2017, he has been the convener of Tyne and Esk Writers. He is the author of Commentary, poems on economic and political issues, and chairs the Wayfarer Trust, an arts charity based at Freswick Castle near John o’Groats. In his spare time he looks after the Handsel Press, a small publishing house started in 1975, and a large garden. Currently he is engaged in a PhD programme at Glasgow University.

ALI WHITELOCK is a Scottish poet and writer living on the south coast of Sydney with her French chain-smoking husband. Her debut poetry collection, ‘and my heart crumples like a coke can’ has just been released by Wakefield Press, Adelaide and her memoir, Poking seaweed with a stick and running away from the smell was launched to critical acclaim in Australia and the UK in 2010. Her poems have appeared in The Moth Magazine, The American Journal of Poetry, Gutter Magazine, NorthWords Now, The Poets’ Republic, The Red Room Company, Beautiful Losers Magazine, Backstory Journal, Other Terrain Journal, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Canberra Times, Bareknuckle Poet and upcoming in the The Pittsburgh Quarterly Magazine. She is currently working on her second poetry collection and second memoir.  

BRUCE MCRAE, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with well over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy (Cawing Crow Press), Like As If”(Pskis Porch), and Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).



She turns towards me, but already
I have risen, ready for the writing.
In late sleep she snuffles, sinuses
less sinuous than once. She is
rejuvenating from another day
spent tirelessly for others, with
the only break her midnight tryst
with a square faced lover, waiting
patiently to feel her hand caress
and summon him from folded sleep
inside her handbag. However, things
are not between them as they were;
Sudoku Sid is difficult; no longer
strictly logical; his questions make
her guess, and even worry. So I fear
this dear relationship is breaking up,
and while another man might welcome
such an end to blatant double timing,
what I dread is there inside her head,
and even now she’s poised to touch
his geeky brother, as he lurks within
her mobile, smirking, ready for the sin.

                                                          Jock Stein 



scene from trainspotting as it relates to self

                                              so what happens is tommy’s
a health freak pumpin’ iron liftin’ weights an aw that shite
then lizzy breaks up wi’ him ‘cause he lost the porno video
of him and her shaggin’ then his heart’s that broke he loses the plot
and gets on the smack only he shares durty needles gets HIV
then he dies. then mark who’s really euan mcgregor asks one
of the mourners how tommy died, wiz it pneumonia
or cancer? cause usually that’s what you die of if you catch the HIV.
turns oot it was toxoplasmosis from the kitten tommy’d bought for lizzy
when he was tryin’ to win her back. right wee cute thing
it wis tae only she was done wi’ him and told him to stick his kitten
up his arse, so he was left wi’ it and what wi him aff his face a hunner
percent of the time the poor wee cat was neglected, shitin’ and pissin’
all over the floor where tommy lay aff his face and that’s how he caught
the toxoplasmosis. we had a house full of cats when i was growin
up. my da’ always used to say they were filthy fucken animals that wan
day we’d get aw get a disease aff them and die a horrible death just
like what tommy did. only i’ve had cats aw ma life noo, and that’s aboot
50 year and ah’m no deid yet, but my da’ is and it wisnae cat shite
that killed him either, i’ll tell you that for nothin’.

                                                                                         Alison Whitelock



One Evening In Ten

Evening, its blue rose
and clouds of laughing gas.
Evening, in royal purple,
a melody among windchimes,
stars falling over the garden,
daylight dismembered.

Evening is a horse
grazing in a meadow,
a languorous stroll
on a faraway beach,
an aquarium
the colour of oceans.
Evening is
a thought-bubble
or fog-breathed lowland.

Some disagree.
It’s the sceptered heart.
It’s a game of hands.
A bluebird choking.
They say evening is
a quiet supper
of lukewarm abstractions.
That it’s a village
at the end of Time’s road.

How preposterous is that?
We all know, rightly,
evening is a time
for addressing the absence.
It may be short
a vowel or two,
but there’s plenty
of fair weather left,
plenty of days to be spent.

Plenty of nowhere.

                                        Bruce McRae



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.


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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. 

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. 

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