Lindsay Macgregor: The Weepers

Lindsay Macgregor is the new year’s Featured Writer. I first came across Lindsay through 52, the wonderful year-long poetry project. When I later discovered her pamphlet, The Weepers, was just coming out I ordered it straightaway and Calder Wood Press sent it nice and quickly.  I couldn’t believe someone so assured hadn’t had a book of poems published before.  But she won the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for 2015 and has also been published in prestigious magazines.  I walked round with my nose in this booklet for quite a few days and mulled over the poems and it is still beside my bed.

For your information, ‘weepers’ are what professional mourners are called in Scots and I love the neat way the pamphlet is so cleverly sewn together by the poems called Weepers I, II, III etc which appear at intervals every few poems, leading the reader back to the real subject matter, however far we might travel in between into various characters who have died, their expertise in archaeology and astronomy , birds, landscape.

Many of the poems made me draw breath sharply. You feel in safe hands with these poems: the subject matter is mainly grief but humour is always about to break through and often does.  Line endings, stanza breaks, imagery, phrasing all combine together to make an explosive small collection. And rhyme is used both craftily and wittily, sometimes imparting an almost ballad-like feel to the rhythm of the poems (even when they are not ballads).  I also love the way there is a good salting of Scots words among the poems but then the poet likes to use quite technical words, le mot juste!  (I was glad of help now and then with a small glossary at the end)

The poem ‘Cudknot’ on the Featured Writers page is one of my favourite poems in the pamphlet. This strikes me as funny as Lindsay told me the very first version of this poem was written here in Devon!

Here are the last lines of the second last poem called ‘Afterlife’:

As the Duty Nurse closes your lids

with her palms in a last benediction,

you’re hoping for laurels

and trumpets in heaven

or devils on horseback in hell. What you never expected

was this

 

and no, there is no fullstop

 

At £5 it’s a really great little book to read and study. I shall be getting another of theirs too: Nuala Watt.

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About Rebecca Gethin

Rebecca Gethin is a poet and a novelist. Cinnamon Press published her third collection, All the Time in the World in 2017. Another pamphlet is forthcoming with Three Drops Press. Her second novel, What the horses heard, was published by Cinnamon Press in May 2014. Her second poetry collection - A Handful of Water - was published by Cinnamon in 2013. Her first - River is the Plural of Rain - was published by Oversteps Books in 2009. Her novel Liar Dice won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award in 2010 and was published in 2011. She lives on Dartmoor and writes occasional pieces about wildlife and nature. Her poems appear in a variety of poetry magazines and in several anthologies.
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6 Responses to Lindsay Macgregor: The Weepers

  1. There you are now. Hope all right with you (gulp!)

    Love Becky G

    http://www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com

  2. mavisgulliver says:

    I must order this – thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  3. E.E. Nobbs says:

    I am enjoying very much this introduction to Lindsey’s work — and now I know what “weepers” means! And agree that the poem “Cudknot” is super — I know people like that (here on PEI where the grass grows fast), and indeed… I spent many years of my life where much of my time seemed to revolve around the on-going-ness & never-done-ness of cutting grass. It makes for a very fine metaphor. (p.s. is “cudknot” a type of grass … or …?}

  4. Poignant and humorous. I think I assumed CudknotI is a grass but might be wrong.

  5. A lovely collection. I’m still savouring it.

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