First interview about my new collection, for MONK journal

This interview is the first time I’ve really talked about the process of writing my new Bloodaxe collection ‘Return by Minor Road’, about living in Dunblane.

Thanks to the poet Christopher James for insightful and sensitive questioning. And to MONK arts journal for publishing it.

“In a way, it becomes difficult to talk about because as soon as you mention the word, they’re curious. A lot of people wouldn’t know I lived in Dunblane because I didn’t mention the name. I used to find it quite difficult to say the name, actually. So I didn’t want to write about it at all. There’s a quote in the book by Eimear McBride, ‘The things I do not want to write about become the things I write about.”

“My experience of living in Scotland was against this astonishingly beautiful backdrop. I wanted to capture the beauty of the landscape and how much that meant to me and how I could carry that in my thoughts. You know how you have some places that always feel like home as soon as you get there? That time and that place is really important to me. ”

“Nature continues without us, beyond us, in all of our lifetimes and beyond all of our lifetimes and what it witnesses. I was interested in the idea of stone and the immutability of stone with its sense of leadenness and numbness. I was conscious that I was exploring what stays with us and what we leave behind. The poem at the end, ‘Place’, tries to express that – what you carry with you, what you keep in your mind, your body – how place becomes part of who you are.”

You can read the full interview here: