2016 was a tumultuous year for world events, though a productive one for my writing. The last twelve months have seen me finish my PhD in modern Scottish poetry at the University of Glasgow. In September I travelled to Russia with the British Council, participating in translation workshops and performing at events in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Thanks to the generosity of the Scottish Book Trust and Creative Scotland, I spent November on a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in Grez-sur-Loing, France. In the course of my RLS Fellowship I wrote a lot of new poems. I also took advantage of the time and space which the Fellowship offered to think about the direction I want my writing to develop in over the course of the coming months and years – notably with regard to the first full-length collection of poems which I’m currently working towards.
Looking ahead to what seems likely to be no less tumultuous a year than the last one was, I can’t help reflecting that the work of poets has rarely felt more vital, at least in my experience. In light of recent events, it seems to me that poetry has an important role to play – to try and speak truth and bridge the divides between cultures and individuals, however challenging a task that might sometimes seem. I think that at its best poetry can also help remind us of the value of playfulness, creativity and artistic generosity, all of which strike me as good qualities to aspire to as we move forwards into 2017.