A Choosing by Liz Lochhead

Selected Poems Polygon, 2011, 103 p. Borrowed from a threatened library.

 A Choosing cover

Lochhead, a poet and playwright, is Scotland’s second Makar, which is to say national poet. This book shows she is capable of not only a perfect standard sonnet such as Epithalamium but of a wide range of poems, though mostly not with formal structures.

View of Scotland/Love Poem articulates the experience of Hogmanay, After the War the material changes that happened in a short lifetime, Sorting Through the loose ends that still remain after a parent dies, Social History the differences in attitudes to sex of different generations, The Choosing the unseen/unfelt pressures that determine lives, Kidspoem/Bairnsang the dichotomy between the formal English of school and the felt experience of Scottishness, My Rival’s House the enmities between a mother and the woman who will take away her son, Poets Need Not the sense that for a poet a completed poem is its own reward.

Worth a read, whether you’re into poetry or not.

Pedant’s corner:- on its second appearance Hogmanay was rendered Hogmany.

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