The Blue Bag
London, New Delhi: Aark Arts, 2004. 100 pages. approx 8 1/2 x 6 inches. Author photo. £9.99. The first full UK collection of east-end London poet, editor, and translator Stephen Watts. Gathering poems from 1977-97 the book travels from the streets of London, to North Uist, to Italy, into the past, into the future, in and out of dream and pain. Intensely real, vivid and tangible, humanist and moving, nothing ever quite dies here. Astonishing language.
Enquiries and orders to Christopher Gutkind (cg19 [AT] soas [D0T] ac [D0T] uk) Send a cheque, payable to me, of 10 pounds per book and I'll cover the mail cost if in the UK. 103b Fortess Road, London NW5 2HR.
One of the finest long poems of the last 50 years is Stephen Watts's 'Praise Poem for North Uist', a stunning evocation of the Outer Hebridean island where Watts lived for several years as a shepherd back in the 70s. It is finally collected along with his superb London poems ('Lord, in a dream I was lifted out of London'), some moving elegies and 'What 31 Children Said About Dreams' in The Blue Bag.