Having been available for pre-orders for several weeks, my award-winning pamphlet Fios is now officially on sale. Published in Aberdeenshire by the wonderful Tapsalteerie, Fios is a gathering of the best of my work from the past few years, during which time a fair proportion of the poems have appeared, sometimes in slightly different form, in various literary journals and e-zines. Needless to say, there are also a number of poems seeing daylight for the first time (just in case any particularly keen potential buyers have copies of all the previously published work).
Fios (‘fiss’) is a Gaelic word. Dwelly’s Dictionary provides the following definitions: 1. Knowledge, information. 2. Notice, intelligence. 3. Word, message. 4. Science. 5. Art, understanding. 6. Vision. In this list, there’s an ascension of sorts, with Dwelly’s glosses starting with the term’s workaday, empirical meanings before moving on to its more expansive, potentially visionary extensions. The poems collected in Fios consider both types of knowledge – the quotidian and the miraculous, with Dwelly’s final definition of vision catered for in a number of ekphrastic poems, mostly deriving from European Renaissance art.
Gaelic is a language I understand very imperfectly. The tiny amount I do know I acquired mainly in order to read poetry. With the title poem and the pamphlet as a whole, I’m not trying to lay claim to any fashionably marginal identity, linguistic or otherwise. These poems are about incomprehension as much as comprehension, a lack of knowledge as much as anything I might think I know. Written by an Anglophone poet living in Glasgow, they’re trying to be aware of their own language as something provisional and potentially inflected by the other tongues around it. At the very least, this seems to be quite a fun way of navigating Scotland’s somewhat tangled linguistic reality, not to mention the world’s.
For details of readings over the next few weeks see the upcoming events page on this site.