Friday, 20 February 2009
I live in the sticks, in a remote metropolis in the south of England that doesn’t take much notice of anything happening outside it, and am therefore cut off from some of the UK’s main cultural highways. But after a delay of nearly two weeks I’ve at last got hold of an article published in the Glasgow Herald by Rosemary Goring, the literary editor, about ‘a remarkable debut poem, Natural Mechanical, by J. O. Morgan [which] comes with warm endorsement from the current poet laureate, Andrew Motion . . .’
For others similarly isolated, here’s more from the Herald:
‘The enticingly titled Natural Mechanical (CB editions, £7.50) is the tale of a young boy, Rocky, who hates school and lives a feral life among the hills and woods of the island. A poor reader – he is later diagnosed as dyslexic – he tries to get as far away as possible from teachers, books, and his dour strap-happy father.
‘Rocky is an extraordinary but not an imaginary character, and J. O. Morgan has known him for many years. Gathering his anecdotes of a clever, untameable child into free verse, Morgan has created a rare biography in a style so vivid it is clearer than prose. If those who never read poetry tried a few pages of this, they might become converts.
‘This book is enthralling on two counts: as an indelible form of memoir; and as a superb evocation of country life. On both levels, it’s a winner. The Skye landscape, and its wildlife in particular, colour the pages. Self-taught, Rocky has an uncanny knowledge of the wild, so skilled at trapping rabbits and fish it’s as if he had cast a spell on them. But as easily as he can make a snare from grass, he can also take a broken-down car and make it purr once more . . .
‘Natural Mechanical is a bold and very modern take on how to portray the soul of a Scot whose passions will chime with many fellow country folk even – perhaps particularly – those now thirled to a city treadmill.’
Today, 20 February, is the book’s official publication date. Order from your local bookshop or buy from the CBe website. Before we sell out.