The poems are fresh and varied – the setting moves from the streets of Glasgow to St Andrews and even as far north as Sutherland. Linklater is not liberal with his words – instead his free verse is sparse and tight. Frequently, I find myself reading abrupt lines, like “Horizons do their work sealing it all off” and “He said he was sorry and I said I was sorry”, but instead of being flummoxing, his style lends his work an urgency, a sense of need that is sometimes lacking from contemporary poems.
Some verses uses really evocative imagery. Lines like those below lend pause:
“Autumn’s cool rolls in with the tide.
From where the poem comes
a gull banks through an oval opening of ruin
quite beautifully from the right angle.”
And again at:
“I believe her not because she has
never told a lie; the sun does not shine
out of her ass. I believe her because
she has loved every day, forever.”
The balance between brazen and coy is impressive, and really could be seen as a reflection of the purpose of poetry in modern times. In that, Speculative Books have surely struck gold.