Author Archives: Bill Herbert

About Bill Herbert

Poet and pseudo-scholar W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee in 1961, educated there and at Oxford, where he completed his DPhil thesis on Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, and now lives and works in Newcastle. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and his books are published by, among others, northern publisher Bloodaxe Books. He is also the Dundee Makar, or city laureate.

Renga City (3)

3. Kyū (Outcomes) i. Publication After a while with every project comes that moment of self-reflection: no longer ‘how shall we do this’ or ‘how are we getting on with doing it’, but ‘what shall we do with it now’? … Continue reading

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Renga City (2)

(Part 1 of this article is on the StAnza blog here.) 2. Ha (Observing the rules and departing from them) i. As a set of principles Like any art form that has been practised for hundreds of years, renga is systematised to … Continue reading

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G. Gregory Smith’s Gargoyle, or, Several Scottish Voices Gathered Together in Pittenweem and Grooving with Robert Wyatt

https://standupandspit.wordpress.com/2021/05/09/chic-murray/ – I love this outburst of Greenockian absurdism, particularly the moment where Chic claims he’s gone wrong, so runs through the whole poem again, again emphasising both its almost complete lack of sense and its entirely coherent structure. It’s … Continue reading

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Keaton, Carrington, Milligan: 4

I am often nagged by epiphenomena, events sitting at the edge of How Things Should Be, though I don’t usually know what it is they are trying to tell me. Such things are, by definition, peripheral – or at least … Continue reading

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Keaton, Carrington, Milligan: 3

(Warning, Will Robinson : this section seems to veer off at a tangent before returning to (what appears to be) the subject…) I was struck by a recent and very particular version of our impositions on the customary: the decision … Continue reading

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Keaton, Carrington, Milligan: 2

Keaton, Carrington, and Milligan all encounter a similar type of crisis in their ability to pursue their art. The effect on them as creative individuals, and their attempts at solutions, however, are very different. For Keaton, it’s the encroachment of … Continue reading

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Keaton, Carrington, Milligan: 1

(I seem to have spent forever over this next set of posts, or, rather, not so much over as hovering – or havering – nearby. Many other duties, including a talk on one of the poets mentioned below, W.S. Graham, … Continue reading

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Mourning and Monsters, 2

(In which we perhaps learn more about the monsters, and the Makarship, than the mourning…) At the end of the short filmed interview he conducted with me after my gaining the Dundee Makarship in 2013, the late Jim Stewart was … Continue reading

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Mourning and Monsters, 1

(As Christmas and the year’s end approaches, you begin to adopt Janus’s regard: looking forward to what is shared and anticipated, while reflecting back on what is lost or appears to be completed. I’ve been considering the links between the … Continue reading

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Leonora, Linares, and the Alebrijes, 2

4 The next day I had two new fixations: getting my jacket dry-cleaned, and having a ‘souvenir haircut’. (As I have almost no hair, the second of these is sometimes replaced by the souvenir shave.) Giovanni reckoned that a short … Continue reading

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