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I'm filled with admiration for what you've achieved, and particularly for the hard work and the 'cottage industry' aspect of it.
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ISBN: 978 1 847771 92 6
Categories: 21st Century, First Collections, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: September 2012
216 x 154 x 8 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
He says Hades, and I see Richard, wearing his welding mask
kneeling beside a stripped out Citroën, sparks from his torch
lighting one side of the garage wall. She says Zeus, and I see
Casey, framed against the sky, bloated and happy
carrying cement across a tiled roof
‘They speak of the gods’
Bevel is William Letford’s first book, but his poems have already earned him a large following thanks to his brilliant performances and through Carcanet’s New Poetries V anthology. Letford makes poems from the rhythms of speech and the stuff of daily life: work and love, seasons and cities, and his writing is alive with the wonder and comedy of the mundane. Bevel is filled with voices – ‘an he says / A love the summer / it’s hoat / ye kin wear yer shoarts...’ – and with the knowledge that becomes engrained in the body: ‘The weight of a drill. The texture of rust.’
Letford works as a roofer, a trade that gives him a particular perspective on life at ground level. ‘Be prepared,’ he writes: pay attention to the moment, know which way to fall. His poems are sure and strong, the words dance.
Waking for work in the winter
For the journey
It’s aboot the labour
[coffee shop window]
Wit is it
By the time we met
Elderly ladies and afternoon tea
This spring evening
Hollow words in the black dog days
Taking a headbutt
In the mountains of northern Italy
No holding back
Breakfast in Baiardo
Outside the city
[T-shirt wrapped around my head]
The light and dark of Adeona
A bad day
Mhari and Annika
Don’t you think i know
Let’s just be
Sex poem number 1
Prowl: Sex poem number 2
Sex poem number 3
Thurs hunnurs a burds oan the roofs
They speak of the gods
For the spirit
The songs we love
Sunday, with the television off
Winter in the world
William Letford is a young Scots poet who writes about daily life, work and love. His first book, Bevel (Carcanet), includes a great diatribe against cloth-eating larvae ('fucking moths / perforated my kilt between weddings')
Helen Simpson, Times Literary Supplement, Novemeber 30, 2012
'Bevel (Carcanet) has poems that observe the world of manual labour, a world the poet both belongs to and doesn't, in a manner reminiscent of the Californian factory-worker poet Fred Voss.'
Adam Newey, Guardian, 1st December 2012
'William Letford's Bevel (Carcanet,RRP £9.95) is (for a book of poetry anyhow!) really, really hot, and deserves to be so - a terrific first collection by a brand-new voice who is popular, urban, accessible, funny, moving, confident, Scottish, brilliant and absolutely his own man.'
Liz Lochhead 'A first collection by William Letford, Bevel (Carcanet, £9.95), has the poems people loved to listen to this year: funny, unpredictable, energetic, touching.'
Robyn Marsack, Scotsman Books of the Year 2012
Praise for William Letford 'William Letford belongs in the grand - and humble - tradition of Robert Burns. He has heart, a feeling for ordinary working people and enough Scottish spark to start a fire.'
Kate Kellaway, The Observer 'While loving dirt is nothing new in poetry, Letford has his own unique take on it. Where he finds life blooming, he lives and lets live.'
The Poetry School
'very probably the next big thing in Scottish literature.'
Teddy Jamieson, Sunday Herald
'a distinct new voice making itself heard amidst the hubbub of Scottish literature.'
Alastair Mabbott, Sunday Herald
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