othernotebooksareavailable said: Black Scotland too - so few prominent Scots of colour, I’d like to celebrate her especially (and also for herself, because she is THE BEST and lovely on stage - I hope to meet her in person some day)
Agreed, she’s a fantastic writer & a great scot (she’s written about coming to understand herself as a black lesbian Scot through Audre Lorde). Did you hear her on open book a couple months ago?
I’m particularly smitten with how she deals with race/her experience as a biracial person. I think she writes with the perfect balance of pathos and wry humour - indexing the fondness we retain for places that reject and embrace us, which is something more than plain sentimentality:
“a woman passed round me
in a slow, watchful circle
as if I were a superstition;
or the worst dregs of her imagination’ (‘In My Country’).
She speaks to the experience of looking for home in places which by turns shelter and abandon us without being polemical. She explores that uncomfortable place, making her readers see and feel that difficulty rather than rushing though it to a solution or end point.
And her obsession with Bessie Smith; and the way she writes about love - that balladic scots refrain ‘how she would always, always / How she would never, never’
She once awarded me a prize for poetry and then hugged me after the ceremony, no doubt because she’s just generally a warm person, but in place or the customary curt ‘well done’ she took the time to break down for me why she had liked my work, how it had resonated with her and her own experience of Christianity, Pentecostalism etc., how it might develop etc. Pretty lovely.