James McGonigal

James McGonigal is a Glasgow-based poet, biographer and critic. He taught English in secondary schools and then in teacher education. A former editor of New Writing Scotland, he has also co-edited anthologies of Scottish religious poetry, Irish-Scots writing and writing for children. Beyond the Last Dragon: A Life of Edwin Morgan (2012) was Scottish Research Book of the Year, and he recently co-edited The Midnight Letterbox (Carcanet Press, 2015), a selection of Morgan’s correspondence from 1950 up until 2010. Prize-winning pamphlets from Mariscat Press include Passage/An Pasaíste (2004) and Cloud Pibroch (2010) which won the Michael Marks Award. His first full collection is The Camphill Wren (Red Squirrel Press, 2016).


Photo: Gerry Cambridge


Border Crossings »

Reading: James McGonigal, Mark Goodwin

Fri 3 March | 11:30 - 12:30 | £4.00/£3.00 | The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Supper Room


With vacant possession

My ears are two For Sale boards
on the conversion project of my head,

one aslant at an Irish angle to the hedge of hair,
the other more Scottish, uptight or circumspect.

This bone house features replicas, exact enough,
of every room I’ve ever lived in, tidied up

as if expecting viewers. I drop in frequently
to pace the floorboards or sit back

with a cup of tea. Just by itself.
The rising steam comforts my cheeks.

Why do folk call its sunset colour ‘black’?


James McGonigal

From The Camphill Wren (Red Squirrel Press, 2016)