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Dirt

William Letford

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RRP: GBP 7.99
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ISBN: 978 1 784102 01 2
Categories: 21st Century, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: August 2016
64 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • There are all types of bodies.
    If you’re lucky you’ll find someone whose skin
    is a canvas for the story of your life.
    Write well. Take care of the heartbeat behind it.

    Billy Letford’s Dirt revels in the fallow, the tainted, the off , and the unloved. The poems embrace a good life stitched together with bad circumstances, bungled chances, missed callings. Whether loitering on the street corner, ‘poackets ful eh ma fingers’, or stumbling from a bar ‘like a monkey in the jungle of traffic, stinking, wild and free’, the characters in Letford’s poems deliver one thing in spades: heart. ‘On Friday I visit my seventy-seven-year-old granny. She’s smoking a joint. It’s not a surprise.’ Letford’s words are lightly worn yet carefully measured; they move between English and Scots, lyrical and concrete, accumulating what the poet has described as an array of textures. Resisting modernity’s unearthly glare, it is a life with grain, with grit, ‘rotten with wonder’, that Letford seeks. The poems dig for a grace within dirt’s humble endurance. ‘There’s dignity there. Lay yourself open.’

    'William Letford is his own man. His work is as utterly original and instantly recognisable as, say, Raymond Carver’s or Billy Collins’, though he’s not like either. His last collection launched a brand new voice. This one, full of grit and tenderness, gives us many voices, places and stories.'
    Liz Lochhead

    ‘The pleasure I have gained from new Scottish genius William Letford’s poems... will, I am confident, stay with me forever.’
    - Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

    'How Billy went from roofer to prize-winning poet'
    The Scotsman
    William Letford has worked as a roofer, on and off, since he was fifteen years old. He has received a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Book Trust and an Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary which allowed him to spend three months in the mountains of northern Italy helping to restore a ... read more
    '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
    Praise for William Letford 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
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