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Bevel

William Letford

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Categories: 21st Century, First Collections, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Sep 2012)
9781847776631
£9.95 £8.96
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Sep 2012)
9781847771926
£11.99 £10.79
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  • 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
    Becoming
    For the journey
    It’s aboot the labour
    Be prepared
    [coffee shop window]
    Wit is it
    By the time we met
    We are
    Elderly ladies and afternoon tea
    This spring evening
    Fusion expands
    Worker
    A bassline
    Newsflash
    Hollow words in the black dog days
    Moths
    Taking a headbutt
    Working away
    In the mountains of northern Italy
    No holding back
    Breakfast in Baiardo
    No distractions
    [it rains]
    Outside the city
    Sunburst
    [T-shirt wrapped around my head]
    The light and dark of Adeona
    A bad day
    Orchards
    Helsinki, Finland
    Mhari and Annika
    Our life
    Café culture
    Don’t you think i know
    Let’s just be
    Sex poem number 1
    Prowl: Sex poem number 2
    Sex poem number 3
    Impact theory
    Thurs hunnurs a burds oan the roofs
    They speak of the gods
    For the spirit
    Chimneys
    The songs we love
    Schrödinger
    Sunday, with the television off
    Winter in the world
    A poem
    Billy Letford published his first collection of poetry while working as a roofer. Since then, his work has been adapted into film, projected onto buildings, carved into monuments, adapted for the stage, written onto skin, cast out over the radio, and performed by orchestras. He has helped restore a Medieval village ... read more
    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 'Themes are tackled with wit and lyricism... Despite the high stakes of survival, demotic language and witty imagery offer some laugh-out-loud moments'
    Lisa Kelly, Magma
    'This is a spellbinder of a book: a fantastical, visionary dystopian Scottish soap opera in which poetry and prose are fused and old human ways collide with frighteningly uncharted artificial intelligence. A leavening wit keeps the fire smouldering throughout. Letford is an inexplicably underrated poet given his exceptional gift.'
    Kate Kellaway, The Guardian
    'One of the things I love most is seeing a writer really stretch themselves, as with the profound, hilarious and empathetic From Our Own Fire by William Letford... This is a genuinely groundbreaking piece of work, hilarious and thought-provoking in equal measure. I can'€™t wait to see what Letford does next.'
    Doug Johnstone, Big Issue
    'Letford's book is perfectly timed: gripping, entertaining and desperate... The imaginative task into which Letford draws us, in this bold and unmissable book, is to see what it means to become reliant on essentials and to uncover the truth about what those essentials are.'
    Kate Kellaway, The Guardian
    '[From Our Own Fire] is a much more inventive and frightening book for all that it foreshadows. It could have been overdramatic, but in Letford's hands it is done with poignancy, humour, and beauty.'
    Peter Raynard, Everybody's Reviewing
    '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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