In My Father’s House


David Kinloch

A touching and humorous collection of poems about fathers and father figures, from one of the most exciting Scottish poets writing today.

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A quick-tempered grandmother is singing; The Mikado is performed in an African village: David Kinloch explores his relationship with his father in unexpected and affectionate terms. An extended sequence of poems moves from personal memory to reflect on the values embodied in such cultural father figures as the explorer David Livingstone and the Irish patriot Roger Casement. Translations of poems by Paul Celan and others into vivid Scots weave through the sequence, illuminating the disturbing connections between patriarchy and twentieth-century violence. In contrast, moving and humorous ‘dissections’ of adult relationships evoke images of the body both scientific and spiritual. As the punning title of the book might suggest, there is much about fathers and sons, including the moving simplicity of a walk with a dead father “and then/I let him go,/but this moment/which is far the hardest pain/remains”. But Kinloch unrolls a convincing set of unexpected scenarios: outspoken excerpts from Roger Casement’s diaries intercut with the horrors of the Belgian oppression in Africa; […] and a most impressive long poem, ‘Baines His Dissection’, where a medical man is seen embalming the body of his friend and lover, against the background of a brilliantly evoked Middle East of the seventeenth century.’

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