My third Bloodaxe collection ‘Return by Minor Road’ is out on 23 April. It focuses on my time living in Dunblane at the time of the Primary School shooting in March 1996. Through poems about landscape and loss, the poems explore the lasting impact of being an ‘incoherent bystander’ at such a tragedy.
In my mid-20s, I was part of a Scottish community that suffered an inconceivable tragedy, the Dunblane Primary School shooting. Those years living in the town form the focus of my third Bloodaxe poetry collection. Through rivers, rain, wildlife and landscape, I revisit where ‘the occasional endures’ and discover the healing properties of a beloved place.
‘This is a book of remembrance, of trauma and grief, but also one of hope, healing and consolation…Return by Minor Roadfeels like a major achievement. Brilliantly constructed, each poem feels complete in itself, while contributing to a greater whole…A work of vivid phrase-making and lyrical empathy, it is by turns, a celebration of our spirit, a forensic examination of the soul, and a warning of the darkness that lives at the edges of our lives.’ Christopher James
‘Through poems of meticulous clarity and precision, Williamson charts the lives and landscapes of a tragedy and its aftermath. These are poems which honestly and respectfully explore the two worlds of humanity: the world we inhabit, its towns, fields and rivers; and, equally importantly, the emotional and spiritual context – the world which inhabits us. What binds the two together? In this powerful and moving collection, it is surely love.’ John Glenday
‘A subtle, moving collection that embraces and explores the landscape cut into the heart. With profound moments and a cumulative power, the collection encapsulates how place and the past are a continuing emotional reality.’ – Esther Morgan
‘Williamson has achieved an impressively finely-tuned response to the Dunblane massacre. Adventurous, intriguing, with a sense of being compelled to return, of the sequence taking its own quiet path. A very valuable book indeed.’ – Moniza Alvi
‘Return by Minor Road is a wonder. Almost unbearably moving at times, these poems evoke the elemental nature of memory, our animal striving for survival, and the horror that human beings so often inflict upon each other. In three sections, the haunting of trauma, the returning in memory, and the return in actuality to honour the dead, Williamson reminds us that our most sacred responsibility is to remember.’ – Dan O’Brien