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The Winter Book

The Winter Book

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This is a new collection of Alan Riach’s poetry, the first since 2009. It is highly relevant to these politically charged times, covering themes of hope and grief and exploring borders both personal and physical.

Title The Winter Book
Author Alan Riach
ISBN 9781910745939
Binding Paperback
Author Bio

ALAN RIACH was born in Airdrie in 1957. He studied English literature at Cambridge University from 1976-79. He completed his PhD in the Department of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University in 1986. His academic career has included positions as a post-doctoral research fellow, senior lecturer, Associate Professor and Pro-Dean in the Faculty of Arts, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand 1986-2000. He returned to Scotland in January 2001 and is currently the Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow.

Back Cover Text

The Winter Book begins on the ice and ends at the well at the world’s end.

Dark castles of bad management and wasted resources are opposed by the forces of art, the virtues of openness, a gathering sense that borders are sometimes precious things that need to be protected, and that travelling across and beyond them is equally vital.


The Winter Book is a vision of our times. It’s full of big poems which encompass a range of experience, engaging with ideas, situations, places, and the why of it. Political anger is poured into strong, argumentative, emotionally engaging poems: no easy task. GERRIE FELLOWS

The poems in The Winter Book connect people, places and culture across geographies, nationally in Scotland and internationally in global, political contexts of loss and affi rmation, sorrow and anger, personal and public worlds, as memories fl ow into history. DOUGLAS GIFFORD

Table of Contents



Christmas Night
Test for the Boss-class
The Reckoning


Lion’s Milk
The Seven Hills of Istanbul
Passages from India:
Daylight: Cornwall
Corunna: Besieged
Poland in Early Winter

Scotland, Again

The Side Road to Stewarton
Three Edges
The First House
The Art of Careful Giving
Morgan Orbital
Connel Bridge
At Sandwick, Whalsay, Shetland
The White Sands of Morar

The Rising and the Fall

The Argument
Before and After: Diptych
The Conclusion Foregone
After the Day: A Jolly Song
Hymn til Venus, Luvis Quene
Three One-Word Poems
Almost Quotations
True Detective
My mother, dead
My father, dying
The Last Hello in Tobermory Bay


Three Poems after Mikhail Lermontov:
‘Nobody will hear these Words’
The Prophet
Ossian’s Grave
The Face of the Horse, after Nikolai Zabolotsky
The Sky’s Alive, after Federico Garcia Lorca
Four Poems after John Stewart of Baldyneiss
Of a Fountain
Roland Furious: The Invocation
Roland Furious: The First Canto


In Praise of Peripheral Vision
The Strange Play
The Tinguely Contraption
The Paolozzi Doors
The Dancers


The Approach: Glasgow Independent
The Maelstrom
London Rules
The Tyrants of Today
Joseph Knight
The Ghost Time
The Well at the World’s End


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