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.

Micro-reviews (4): Two Tongues

Two Tongues, Claudine Toutoungi (Carcanet), £10.99 – NB currently 10% discount on site Another ‘brief sentence’ that got away from me – perhaps because I’m always very impressed by poets who’ve worked out – as Claudine Toutoungi has in just … Continue reading

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Phorgotography, 5

Next near-subliminal Facebook flashcard was from Depths of Lockdown. This was the same image I’d picked out to illustrate a point about Creative Procrastination in my piece for NCLA’s New Defences of Poetry, a website-that-shoulda-been-a-book edited by David O’Hanlon-Alexandra, so … Continue reading

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Micro-reviews (3): billy casper’s tears

Paul Summers, billy casper’s tears (Smokestack) £7.99 Next up in the ‘Just give us a sentence – please! Stop! Please – just a sentence will do! Please just stop!’-that-turned-into-a-review-anyway category is this appraisal of Paul Summer’s new book, published May … Continue reading

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Phorgotography, 4

Continuing the theme of images randomly thrown up by Facebook that then vanish before I’ve finished my usual arduous Working-Out-Of-Thinks, this was from the day of the Russian invasion back in February. The image itself was more than a decade … Continue reading

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Micro-reviews (2): Desperate Fishwives

Here’s another enthusiastic response to being asked to read a book, this time one by the very fine Lindsay MacGregor, who first studied then taught at Dundee Uni, who hosts the Ladybank Platform readings, is part of StAnza’s constellation of … Continue reading

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Imagining Imagined Spaces

This review of a book of essays exploring the range of forms possible within creative critical thinking was supposed to appear in a briefer form sometime last year but, for whatever reason, did not. It acts as a sort of … Continue reading

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The Great Slowing Down versus Poet MacDiarmid (3)

The interiorising impulse is a normal part of most writers’ cycle of composition and publication, but it became stronger for me with my father’s death, after which I spent a couple of years darting off to any far-off place that … Continue reading

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A The Poetry Review review

So complete is the lacuna created by the pandemic that, when it comes to the microcosm of poetry, entire books were swallowed up by it like Keaton’s famous shot in The General of the titular train steaming off the blown-up … Continue reading

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The Great Slowing Down versus Poet MacDiarmid (2)

So, as I think I was saying, the GSD equals a reluctance to complete these many waiting posts which isn’t entirely motivated by kindness to the passing reader. It has the air of a necessary recalibration, but the effect of … Continue reading

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Micro-reviews (1): Haurd Roads an Cauld Hairst Winds

(Translations into Scots from Du Fu and Li Bai by Brian Holton, Taproot Press, 2021) I’ve been meaning for a while to post a few of the micro-reviews I always end up writing whenever I’m asked for ‘a sentence or … Continue reading

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