Thursday, 9 June 2011

vintage sea

it's a rare pleasure, engendered i suppose primarily by the internet, but at the same time showing up its many shortcomings as the postie man pushes a brown parcel packet thru the door just as i wake up and all at once i have a sense of brown paper, the matt drag of it on my fingers, the careful picking up of the knife to slice thru sellotape. ah, i think, so that's what her writing looks like. and all at once the moment is more than itself, a summation of all those others, small contacts, things read, conversations had.

these are the things i like in poetryland and i'm lucky enough to have had a few of them, when those blogged contacts somehow transform themselves into the possession of something made. which is more than a book or a pamphlet but a crafted thing, something new in the world, like a person you almost know but without the day to day blurring of memory.

and this again is what receiving marion's vintage sea is like. and almost moreso. i've met marion of few times now, i'd hazard a guess that i'd recognise in a busy street, but these poems i know them. so i'm happy to not be watching the dauphine-libere, putting the tv off and welcoming these upon my eyes like someone i've been waiting to visit and take into my house. i can't remember the last time i read a pamphlet cover to cover but i did with this, a wee smile with each recognised face.

i don't know these places, who or what is burnie mackinnon, the gantocks or the captayannis and, to be honest, i don't care. i like their shapes, the feel of them as i say their names - if nothing else this is a collection that deserves to be read out loud by somebody scottish! - and i love the fine detail, small changes where i can see a point where marion has (finally!) decided that this is the finished article. yes, i say, i see what you did there.

from my own perspective i like the later poems. not that there's any indication of what these are but i know and for me these are where i find marion's voice at her most confident and, collected like this, gives me great sense of anticipation for what she does next (sad that, it always about what comes next!). there is great language here, when i read it i get the same sensation as i do when i look up words in foreign language dictionaries, taking the familiar and transform it on my tongue. i can't be doing much with questions of meaning, it's all about the feel and vintage sea feels great.

easily my favourite collection of the year so far and a great addition to the calderwood stable (nice one, colin) who are doing a release in glasgow on the 17th of this month. i'll certainly endeavour to be there.


The river whitens the birch wood trunks.
I lie as foreign as coloured glass amidst the mossy greens,
shadows of birds flying across my skin.
Shushing leaves fill the sky with the rush of the sea,
and above my closed eyes
the clouds become boats filled with Nessmen
as they sail to the gannet skerry
where they'll find me, in another life,
among the kittiwakes, the sea pinks,
cormorants feeding their young in my ribcage.

buy it here


Marion McCready said...

wow, thankyou :)glad you finally got it!! it would be fantastic if you were able to make it to the launch!

Rachel Fox said...

Lovely response to a book (and a person too of course...I think I first met you,Swiss, via the girl who was then Sorlil). What a funny family we are...

Many books to catch up on when I get back.


swiss said...

t's off to a course in ireland around then so that complicates things a bit but hopefully not too badly so should be there.

you're back soon rachel? seems like ages! great pics on the blog - i fear scotland will seem very small!

Rachel Fox said...

Not that soon - beginning of August. x

Roxana said...


wonderful presentation, i would fall in love with Marion and her book even if i hadn't known them :-)

Titus said...

Great introduction to a book I'm enjoying enormously. Really looking forward to hearing the poet in person.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks. It was a pleasure putting the book together.