CHERYL FOLLON‘s latest collection, Santiago is published by Bloodaxe Books (2017). Her poems have appeared in The Herald, The Dark Horse, The Times Literary Supplement, and on BBC Radio 4 amongst other places. Her first two poetry collections are Dirty Looks (2010) and All Your Talk (2004) both published by Bloodaxe Books.

MHAIRI OWENS is a Scottish community worker with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of St Andrews. She tutors in Poetry with the University’s International Summer School. Mhairi writes in English and Scots and is Scots Languages Editor for The Scores. Her poems have appeared, or are pending, in anthologies and journals including Glasgow Review of Books, Obsessed with Pipework and The Rialto.

NATHANAEL URIE is a writer and photographer from Lincoln, Nebraska. A recent poem, “The Slob Genius”, appeared in April during National Poetry Month, in the small press print anthology, Pennsylvania Bards Northeast Poetry Review (Local Gems Press, Long Island). Urie has published previously with Glasgow Review of Books.

Cheryl Follon

Even when the flames reach
the thirty feet ceiling that girl sleeps on.
When the fire’s covered the whole house
like a napkin placed over a top hat with a rabbit in it,
the girl just shuffles round and turns over
and gets comfortable on the other side.
When the house is nothing more than a
smoking pile of sticks, a tumbling smashed beam,
she gets up and wonders what to have
for breakfast: maybe a little light egg, a little stewed fruit.
She’ll maybe even get the papers later,
lounge around with her sunglasses in the park.


Cheryl Follon

What’s hell like? Well, if it even exists
there’re a few big well-positioned fans
to keep the fish heads cool.

All the trillionaires like to chat about
suitcases full of diamonds and racehorses
while they knock off strange dust
from their masks like dust from a sombrero.
A sombrero – now, there’s a thought,
a blast from the strange and distant past.


Thin place
Mhairi Owens

All this talk of
singing ships to
rocks with lures
of eld. All that
old school
hag propaganda.

We know why
Morrough lives

in a thin place,
in smirr with
The Brothers
and uisge beatha,
why her sister’s
seal eyes look
so human.

lovely almonds,
that surface
in imaginary
harbours. See
the earth’s slope
in its dizzy
star-lined jacket.


Morrough | mermaid; smirr | breath-like rain; uisge-beatha | whisky

holding it together
Nathanael Urie

Jim Harrison used to sit down and write this stuff proper,
let it get away with him, got across the page with just a pencil,
ended up with Legends of the Fall, Dalva, The Woman Lit by Fireflies

I’ve looked through his poetry, sifted for objects, was
jealous of the way he used the word ‘primrose’, how he was able
to write about the mail, slugs, the general slop under his galoshes

he wasn’t going to write a common love song, as if a piece
of sheetrock was more interesting, passing up infinity for
another broken tooth, the slime mold of an old swimming pool

that’s how I wanted to be, postcards hanging by a single pin,
the raised lettering on a gold button worn down to smoothness,
icy windows in brittle sealant, we can stand to live another day


her mouth was soft
Nathanael Urie

John MacDonald’s Nightmare in Pink,
I read the passages as though I have something
to learn about writing

the same goes for Ruark’s The Honey Badger
or a prose poetry anthology
from 1976

these old American paperbacks
with broken spines

sometimes you’ll find a library
card in the cover
from North Platte, Nebraska

a tanned envelope where they
still stamped the numbers
in dirty ink

or opening a three-volume set
of Elmore Leonard,
The Hunted, Swag, Mr. Majestyk
discarded in 1985

you’ll discover suitable ways
to write dialogue,

how to introduce a safari jacket,
a ticket window,
the Detroit National Bank

there is a streak
of pastel in the words,
the cover art

the nurse
who walked into the hospital room
had pumpkin gold hair,

her mouth was soft
and the marigolds on
the sill a fiery copper


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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