Born in Lanarkshire; living in hope. Places, territories, engagements: Calderbank, near Airdrie, first; then school in Gravesend, Kent; Cambridge University to study literature; Glasgow University to study Scottish literature. Teaching at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, 1986-2000, and travelling internationally, over those years and since: America, Australia, China, India; Italy, France, Poland, Spain, Austria, Germany (1986, West and East Berlin); Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, England. And all parts of Scotland. The intake comes first. I’m one of those who used to read the back of the sauce bottle at dinner, the cornflakes packet at breakfast, who in childhood tried to stop looking at words and read what I could see around me – or could hear around me – learning to pick up information by reading without words. Birdsong. When tiredness comes, sleep, and let the non-conscious cognitive processes take over. That’s the intake. The output is the writing: poems, when they arrive, as they do even yet, unbidden, from somewhere deep. And prose: essays introducing writers, artists and composers to anyone who likes to read, look, listen. Critical work arising from research in the archives, and from reading (looking, listening) in new ways, from different angles, bringing unpredicted things together. Hopefully.
(Photo credit: Macarthur Cunningham)
(Works in Scots)