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John Glenday was born in Broughty Ferry in 1952. His first collection, The Apple Ghost, won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and his second, Undark, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. He lives in Cawdor and works for NHS Highland as an addictions counselor.

Grain

Picador Poetry
2010 Shortlist
United Kingdom

Judges’ Citation

Grain is the work of an unhurried craftsman; John Glenday has made poems of understated integrity and humanity.

In John Glenday’s work we hear a calm, confiding voice. This is a mature work, Glenday writes slowly and out of necessity, and in Grain, his third collection, he has achieved a work of wry spiritual authority which never preaches or instructs. Alert to Scottish landscapes and turns of phrase, these poems never send readers away bewildered or confused. We are drawn in to shared confidences. His highly crafted lyrics are like wrought iron, strong but delicate, with a care for assonance and cadence. He listens carefully to the language he works in. They’re also playful: a tin can, a peculiar fish, invented translations, made-up saints all can suggest poems. It’s refreshing to discover a poet whose work is earthly, full of rivers and hills and islands, but where old ideas like ‘love’ and ‘soul’ have not been banished. Grain is the work of an unhurried craftsman; John Glenday has made poems of understated integrity and humanity. Sun through the sea/sea in the heart/heart in its noust/nothing is lost.