Thursday, November 27, 2014


I'm rather late with this post about our reading for day 3 of Book Week Scotland, because we were out all evening yesterday. To recap for anyone who hasn't seen my previous two posts, one of my pledges for Book Week is to read a piece of Scots writing to my family every day, whether a story, poem or extract from a novel.

As with Tuesday's reading, I chose something brief for Wednesday evening because I knew we would be busy. In the event, all the rushing about meant that dinner was a hastily-snatched burger in McDonald's in Perth, so I did my reading there! I should apologise to the work and its creator for the unglamorous setting...

I felt that having read a poem by Scotland's most famous poet, Rabbie Burns, on Tuesday, it would be nice to follow it with a poem - or poems - by a modern poet living and working in Scotland. As it happens, I have two collections of poems by poet Kona MacPhee, who was born in London and grew up in Australia, but who now lives and writes in Crieff, Perthshire. I love Kona's work and have heard her read some of it at a joint event we did at Strathearn Community Library a while ago, along with fellow poet Patricia Ace (we called the event "Two poets and a novelist").

I selected two poems from Kona's collection Tails (pictured). One of them was Elegy for a climber, which was written in memory of Brendan Murphy, who died in an avalanche in India aged only 33. I don't think I am going to attempt to "review" this poem; it would need another poem to do it. Suffice to say that it is both moving and beautiful.
The other poem was Yode, which is one of my favourites. It is preceded by a quote from that great philosopher, Yoda out of Star Wars: Do, or do not. There is no try. The poem expounds upon this theme, which is one with which I heartily sympathise.

If you want to read these two poems, you'll have to lay hands on a copy of Tails, which is available on Amazon. Kona's website does offer another of her poems, The gift, which you can read online here:

Incidentally, the library I mentioned above, at which we held our joint event, is also my local library and the one to whom I addressed my "love letter to a library" for Book Week Scotland. You can read the letter here: Dear Strathearn Community Library

I'll be posting again soon with our reading selection for today, day 4 of Book Week Scotland!

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