Poet presents wildscapes in words

Kenneth Steven's gripping 2020 political thriller was longlisted for the 2019 Portico Prize.

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Acclaimed as one of Scotland’s finest poets and prose writers, Seil-based  Kenneth Steven has published a new poetry collection called West.

Inspired by the wildscapes of Scotland, the collection is dedicated to Kenneth’s late sister Helen Steven who was a justice and peace worker for the Iona community.

West, a new poetry collection by Kenneth Steven. NO_T19-West-kennethsteven
West, a new poetry collection by Kenneth Steven

Best known as a poet, whose admirers included poet laureate Ted Hughes, Kenneth is a novelist and children’s author too.

He grew up in Highland Perthshire and was taken every summer to the west coast and islands including Iona, which he says has been his spiritual home from childhood.

The poems in West are ones he hoped Helen would love in particular, Kenneth said, ‘about places of wildscape in the west of Scotland for which she had such particular fondness.’

One of them that he says is perhaps at the heart of the collection is: SALT When you have forgotten what it means to have the wind hurrying your window all night long it’s time to find the island. There is a gate – beyond, a track that’s made of sand winding down the machair. You’ll hear the sea long before you’re there, or the shoulders of the island have opened so that all the horses of the west are galloping the beach, again and now again. And if you should open too and let in light, it is because the breakages within you are so many, and the salt, no matter how it hurts, will heal.

The launch of West, published by Wild Goose Publications, is at Waterstones in Oban on Wednesday May 8 at 6.30pm.