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Ghosts at Cockcrow

Authors: Stewart Conn

Published by Bloodaxe Books

ISBN: 9781852246860

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Stewart Conn is one of Scotland's leading poets. His Stolen Light: Selected Poems was widely praised for its evocations of the land, people and farms of his Ayrshire boyhood, and for his "unnerving sense of the fragility of life" (Douglas Dunn). This new book includes many poems written during his three years as Edinburgh's first Poet Laureate.

In the title-sequence, 'Ghosts at Cockcrow' ñ set in Burgundy ñ he reflects on the transience of beauty and the vulnerability of our lives. But whether revelling in landscape or cities, or marvelling at the durability of love, Stewart Conn's tone is always affirmative. He celebrates the affections, and observes the passage of time, often through works of art. And he conjures up ñ exhilaratingly and often with wry humour ñ settings as diverse as museums and stage sets, trout-lochs and mountain slopes, Barcelona's Ramblas and Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

"About his poems there hover ghosts of rhymes, as if the world is held together by a certain frailty, to which the main answers are love and compassionÖ His is the poetry of a concerned, humane man, who recognises that our virtues are hard fought for and that our good fortune is very vulnerable and brittle."
Iain Crichton Smith, The Scotsman

"Stewart Conn is one of Scotland's most skilled and wide-ranging poets. A sympathetic, if quite unsentimental, treatment of the natural world, or the rural one at least, does run throughout his poetry, but so do the themes of love, family relationships, the nature and power of art, and that time-honoured subject of poetry ñ the fragility and transitoriness of life itself."
David McCordick, Scottish Literature in the 20th Century
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