Review of "The Colour of Black & White poems 1984-2003" (Liz Lochhead)
Author(s): Liz Niven
Copyright holder(s): Liz Niven
"The Colour of Black & White" is Liz Lochhead’s furst collection o poetrie in ower ten year. Yin o wir maist favourite dramatists, it’s a lang-awaitit delicht tae be able tae hiv sic a substantial nummer o new poems as weel as ithers kent fae afore.
As ayeweys, human relationships are fundamental tae the fabric o the poems which rynge fae luive an daith an childhood throu tae adult preoccupations sic as sex an mairriage. Again thir’s the mix o autobiographical an fictional, poems aboot her hame toon o Lanarkshire as weel as a wee sample o the poet’s fascination wi the Frankenstein theme in The Ballad o Mary Shelley’s Creature.
Tae pit the work o printmaker Willie Rodger’s intae the buik is a fine norrie, lendin as it does an addit attraction o visual elements tae counter, an complement, the wirds. It’s appropriate as weel tae hae anither artist in the focus here as Liz Lochhead frequentlie writes, refers tae, dedicates her work tae a wheen ither artists – poets as weel as visual artists.
Edwin Morgan features baith throu a visit tae his hame as weel as in a seventhieth birthday dedication which gey finely acknowledges Lochhead’s admiration for Morgan as a person an fir his work.It is fittin that he has written the introduction tae the buik.
A dedication to Lyn Hansen, references to much admired artist/scupl?or George Wylie, and direct conversations to poet-freens, Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay, gie us an impression o a poet givin generouslie o her affections tae her freens an fellow makers. The ‘Year 2K email epistle to Carol Ann Duffy, Sister-poet & Friend of my Youth’ is a lovely example o the relaxt, informal tone o some o the work. The gentle nod tae Burns in ‘If forward though we canna see/We guess and fear’ serves tae remind us o the continuitie throu the centuries fae afore Burns tae the present day, o hou wir Scots poets are of the people, an pairt o the people, no bein aff in an ivorie touer, inaccessible tae the general reader.
Monie o the poems are strang narratives an talk us throu the childhood an adolescent experiences o a fifties an sixties ethos. ‘Kidspoem/Bairnsang’ is weel kent and luived awreadie – maistlie by teachers in Scotlan – as a succinct appraisal o the wey wir weans are generallie strippt o much o the Scots vocabularie learnt in thir hame environment when they gan tae the scuil.
A wean disnae pu oan ‘pixies an pawkies’ onie mair, bit nou, she ‘pulled on my bobble-hat and mittens’. She disnae birl her scarf bit nou twirls it, an instead o the freenlie ‘kid-oan skelp oan the bum’ she gets a ‘pretend slap on the bottom’. This poet can mak her ain case fir native leids wi’oot needin a soap boax.
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Review of "The Colour of Black & White poems 1984-2003" (Liz Lochhead). 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 7 December 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1009.
"Review of "The Colour of Black & White poems 1984-2003" (Liz Lochhead)." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. 7 December 2023. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1009.
The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Review of "The Colour of Black & White poems 1984-2003" (Liz Lochhead)," accessed 7 December 2023, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1009.
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