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Our Poem of the Month, in association with Picador

Each month we bring you, courtesy of leading poetry publisher Picador, a poem by one of the many talented poets on their list, ranging from first-timers to some of the most widely read poets in the English language. (You can read earlier Poems of the Month by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page.)

Picador logoPicador are one of the UK's foremost publishers of poetry, with a list that features, amongst many others, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Sean O'Brien, Jackie Kay, Annie Freud, Paul Farley, Ian Duhig, Robin Robertson and Clive James.

Fiere by Jackie KayThis month's choice is the title poem from Jackie Kay's new collection, Fiere, which has already been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award.

Jackie Kay was born in Glasgow in 1961 and was adopted at the age of five months. She didn't become aware of this until the age of seven. She wasn't too meet her sisters by birth until this year, who became aware of her through Jackie's autobiography, Red Dust Road, published in 2010, which tells of her travels to Nigeria to meet her birth father.

Encouraged to write by legendary Scottish author Alasdair Gray, she published the semi-autobiographical poetry collection, The Adoption Papers, in 1991, which won the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award and received a Commendation from the judges of the Forward Prize.

Since then she has published over a dozen books of poetry, including Other Lovers, which won the Somerset Maugham Award. She has also written fiction, both short stories and novels, most notably Trumpet, the story of a jazz trumpeter who masqueraded a man for fifty years, closely based on the life of Billy Tipton; the book won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1998.

She has also written dramatic works and children's stories. She was awarded an MBE in 2006 for her services to literature.

 

Fiere

If ye went tae the tapmost hill, fiere,
whaur we used tae clamb as girls,
ye'd see the snow the day, fiere,
settling on the hills.
You'd mind o' anither day, mibbe,
we ran doon the hill in the snow,
sliding and singing oor way tae the foot,
lassies laughing thegither - how braw,
the years slipping awa; oot in the weather.

And noo we're suddenly auld, fiere,
oor friendship's ne'er been weary.
We've aye seen the warld differently.
Whaur would I hae been weyoot my jo,
my fiere, my fiercy, my dearie O?
Oor hair it micht be silver noo,
oor walk a wee bit doddery,
but we've had a whirl and a blast, girl,
thru the cauld blast winter, thru spring, summer.

O'er a lifetime, my fiere, my bonnie lassie,
I'd defend you - you, me; blithe and blatter,
here we gang doon the hill, nae matter,
past the bracken, bonny braes, barley,
oot by the roaring sea, still havin a blether.
We who loved sincerely; we who loved sae fiercely,
the snow ne'er looked sae barrie,
nor the winter trees sae pretty.
C'mon, c'mon my dearie - tak my hand, my fiere!

 

© Jackie Kay 2011

 

Previous Poems of the Month

November: Holus-Bolus by John Kinsella

October: Virgil's Bees by Carol Ann Duffy

September: Cassandra by Glyn Maxwell

August: Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins

July: The Hum by Rachael Boast

 

Jackie Kay titles currently in print

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£8.99
 
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£8.99
 
Wish I Was Here
(Paperback)
Jackie Kay
 
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Red Dust Road
(Paperback)
Jackie Kay
 
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£8.99
 
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£8.99
 
Fiere
(Paperback)
Jackie Kay
 
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Desert of the Heart
(Paperback)
Jane Rule; Jackie Kay
 
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Darling: New and Selected Poems
(Paperback)
Jackie Kay
 
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Between the Acts
(Paperback)
Virginia Woolf; Jackie Kay; Lisa...
 
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£6.99
 
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The Adoption Papers
(Paperback)
Jackie Kay
 
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£9.95
 

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