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Little Pearls

Margaret Malloy

A pearl begins with a little bit of grit!

It cannot be formed in any other way.

What gives these poems their enduring value, and in many cases, their beauty, is that they are the product of some inner pain, experienced or observed.

There is a deceptive simplicity about the, carefully, chosen words.

They read easily but many, I feel, have been costly to compose.

Thank you, Pearl, for the delightful pastoral gems in your collection but a personal thanks most of all, for the profound spiritual truths you offer to each of us who have known struggle as we sough Christ's peace.

Thank you for sharing your gift!

Rev Fred Booth


Pointing at the Pachyderms

Ian McGregor

Ian McGregor's Selected Lyrics, 1978-2013: Basically, the ones he hasn't misplaced - look out for the collected lyrics if he ever gets into that cupboard.

They're explained! Learn the stories behind the words! (at least the ones he can remember the meaning of - you're on your own for some of them).

Plus an introductory essay on lyrics generally.

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Jock Stein

Poems on economic, social and political issues. From ‘War Talk:

Sheer / damage must be totally excused

by multiplying syllables till they spell

col-lat-er-al – well, to make an omelette

you need to break some eggs –

and what are eggs but tiny shells

in which the future of a species dwells?


Jock Stein

Poems on gardens, landscape and travel. From ‘High Poetry’:

Words pass through grit and grey, dance off

a grand chain with some misty faith posts,

straighten up our poetry to human height,

eternity a scree run for another day.

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The Iolaire
Jock Stein

A long poem on the tragedy of the loss of The Iolaire outside Stornoway Harbour on the last night of 1918, in dialogue with Book Four of the Old Testament Psalms, constructed in the shape of a pibroch (theme and variations). Diglot English and Gaelic (translated by Maoilios Caimbeul, with an introduction by Alan Riach, professor of Scots Literature at Glasgow University).


Kenneth Steven

The book is a gathering together of all of Kenneth Steven’s poems concerning the island of Iona through the years. These comprise poems that have been published in journals both at home and abroad, and broadcast on BBC Radio. A lengthy introduction tells the story of the forging of those first links with Iona, and those that have come through adult years. This is a book both for those who know and love the island, and for those who may yearn to visit but have not yet had the chance. It’s essentially a love song to a precious and an extraordinary place that has been the author’s spiritual home from earliest childhood days.

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SILENT PARTNERS Glimpses from Scripture
Claire Wilson

Glimpses from scripture indeed, giving a voice to women who remain otherwise under the radar. This is the first book of poetry by Claire Wilson. She take us behind the scenes of the Bible story, and probes the psyche of some well-known characters. She imagines sitting on a bench with the reader:

Sit awhile and share.

This bench will bear your weight till

melody rings clear.


I am delighted to recommend this first collection of poems by Claire Wilson. Many hitherto muted biblical women share here their innermost thoughts with Claire as confidante. We fellow travellers on the train of time find ourselves gifted quiet drifts of poignant conversation, our reflections melding them with distant yet unexpectedly familiar landscapes.

Fearghas McFhionnlaigh, poet


Her courageously creative poetry takes us into a place of challenge and heightened perception. I shall never think of Potiphar’s wife, Bathsheba, or Peter’s mother-in-law in the same way again!

Fran Brady, Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers

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Marking Milestones
Irene Howat

These poems reflect Irene Howat’s experience of life. A Scot through and through, she visits people and places, sights and sounds that mean something to her and introduces us to them.

We watch a sunrise over Arran and relax on the beach at Macrihanish, admire a spider’s web and think about a cherry tree whose autumn leaves have been blown away by a gale. We see her sense of humour in several of her poems while some others give glimpses right into her heart.


Irene Howat is a biographer and poet who learned to read and write before going to school and has never stopped learning. She is a past winner of the McCash Prize, the Robert McLellan Tassie and the Hugh MacDiarmid Tassie.


“I came away from Irene Howat’s Ayrshire the richer, though the riches were not as the world considers them: they were instead scents and sounds and sights. Such riches are carried away in the heart.”

Kenneth Steven

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Temple And Tartan
Jock Stein

Temple and Tartan has poetry responding to the five books of Psalms in the Old Testament. One of the sets of poems, ‘Journey’, compares King David with Robert the Bruce, another reflects on the tragedy of The Iolaire and Calvinism in the Highlands and Islands, called ‘Pibroch’ since it is written in that shape. Five chapters introduce the poetry, and explain how a poet works as Enquirer, Curator, Prophet, Singer and Celebrant. The book brings out the links between Psalms and Scotland.
One set of poems is called ‘Carpet’, since the reader is on a magic carpet travelling anywhere in the universe of thought and application; another is ‘Migrants’, telling stories of modern migration, inspired by the Jewish experience of exile in Babylon and return; and the final section of poetry is called ‘Tapestry’, weaving a conclusion to the book, which has woven connections between Psalms, poetry more generally, Scottish history and modern politics as well as the personal joys and sorrows which the Psalms touch on.
While Temple and Tartan illustrates how Psalms have been important for Scotland in personal and political history, the relevance of the book is not confined to any one country.

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