In Good Time | James McGonigal
From Donegal to the Gobi Desert, from the bones of a child’s foot x-rayed in a 1950s pedascope to the astronaut with stigmata prospecting for mineral wealth—here are poems that cross intriguing boundaries. Which of those journeys were real, and which of them only imagined? Domestic and otherworldly details meet in passing, as voices from the present, past and future combine to make their haunting music, in good time.
Now Clydeside’s an old postcard. Of pensioners
posing for snaps on the Rothesay Ferry—
... Stout women in herringbone coats
buttoned up to their knitted sou’westers,
like mermaids in glasses
or barnacled goddesses staring
out from the prow into what’s left
of the teeth of life’s gale.
‘This collection transports us across time and space: from childhood memories of industrial Lanarkshire and Clyde steamers; to the travels of medical missionaries through the oases of Central Asia a century ago; and on into the future with a chilling sequence, ‘Star-fetched’. There is much to admire including ‘everyday glorious things’ —words from the mouth of the poet-monk Caedmon as part of a fascinating inter-century exchange between himself, Edmund Spenser and Basil Bunting, poets who shared a Northern sense of place.’
—Christine De Luca
‘I liked those linked verses by your man McGonigal.’
‘James McGonigal’s new collection is characterised by a lovely, lightly worn lyricism that catches its subjects off-guard at unusual and memorable angles. It is also an ambitious one, presenting several long sequences in which Edwin Morgan’s example has been a galvanising force. There is a great range of work here; the writing is always
sharp, tightly focused and the metaphors, often very beautiful, flow naturally in the service of the stories or observations they fashion. There are some classic poems here.’
In Good Time is James McGonigal’s second collection from Red Squirrel Press. He has published five earlier poetry collections from the 1990s onwards, and a range of prose works including anthologies, criticism, biography and letters. He lives, writes and gardens by the Antonine Wall north-east of Glasgow.
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