A Kist of Thistles: An anthology of radical poetry from contemporary Scotland, edited by Jim Aitken, with images by Fiona Stewart. 196 pps. ISBN: 978-1-912710-32-4
A Kist of Thistles is a new anthology of radical Scottish poetry. It is edited and introduced by Jim Aitken, an Edinburgh-based writer and lecturer, and illustrated with images by Fiona Stewart.
Most of the 62 poets in A Kist of Thistles would agree with Mary McCabe that Scotland should be engaged in ‘plannin a better nation’. But the poetry is not just about Scottish self-determination. This wonderfully diverse and skilful group of poets is also engaged with international, environmental and broader social issues that affect everyone.
All of Scotland’s languages are represented here and this diversity also shows a culture that is confident about itself as it looks out as much as it looks within, reaching out across the world to all those whose lives have been less than they should be. The poets show their concern for ordinary people, and rail against what Lesley Benzie calls ‘the bloodied carcass of truth’ as their poems seek to cleanse and redeem all the broken lives they encounter.
The voices in this anthology—with some humour, much conviction and plenty of style—look forward not only to a better Scotland, but also to a much fairer and better world for everyone.
A Kist of Thistles: An anthology of radical poetry from contemporary Scotland, edited by Jim Aitken with images by Fiona Stewart, 196 pps, £10. ISBN: 978-1-912710-32-4
Mike Quille is a writer, reviewer and chief editor of Culture Matters.