Homages to Kettillonia

On The Birlinn of Clanranald

‘In this translation, Alexander MacDonald’s epic song in homage to ocean, ship and sailors, sings with equally melodious eloquence in the guest language. One of the greatest poems in Gaelic lives again in this vibrant new guise that will bring many of us back to the original. Two for the price of one!’– Aonghas MacNeacail

‘This is a terrific rendering of the poem and very much for the 21st century… The words “the best yet” spring immediately to mind.’ – Ronald Black

‘Quite extraordinary, a triumph, and makes the thing live as no other version I have read. Full of weather, and sea, and vigour.’ – Andrew McNeillie

On James Robertson's "I Dream of Alfred Hitchcock"

"Even those not familiar with Hitchcock will enjoy Robertson's ability to set a scene and the intrigue of his phrasing." [Chapman]

On Angus Calder's "Horace in Tollcross":

"Highly lucid and humorous . . . full of bracing poetic moments." [Chapman] "[Calder's] sequence of updatings of Odes by Horace is delightful and clever - and very, very funny. On several occasions I laughed out loud in the reading, and I keep going back and laughing again... The lightness about the whole collection has nothing to do with superficiality and everything to do with delicacy. Make no mistake - there is some elegant writing here and the bardie is no maut-heid." [Helena Nelson, The Dark Horse]  "It is customary, in reviews these days, to find fault with something in the work under scrutiny, just to demonstrate the perceptive insight of the reviewer. I find no weakness in Calder." [Helena Nelson, The Dark Horse]

On Ian McDonough's "A Rising Fever":

"Ian McDonough's pamphlet-length poem reveals the mind's meanderings under a high temperature. Through his precision of language the reader is aware of the speaker's surroundings: noises from adjoining flats, the weather, but also of internal contemplations. Fine work from a strong poet." [Chapman]

On Ellie McDonald's "Pathfinder"

"Ellie McDonald's well-tuned Scots poems . . . are witty and full of fire." [Chapman]

On Andrew McNeil's "Temples Fae Creels"

"In Temples Fae Creels the metaphysical meets the colloquial in what could almost be subtitled a Miracle fae the East Neuk. The marriage of Andrew McNeil's Fife dialect and his elegiac, compassionate pictures of the fishing communities are an outstanding success. His language is spare and clipped - you can feel the nip of the wind and the salt." [Scottish Book Collector]

"Andrew McNeil's poems have the comfortable feel of returning home after a long day's slog to slip into a warm bath with a whisky. His Scots is simple but resonant... He roams Fife catching glimpses of beauty in outdoor swimming pools, wedding scrambles, and children on the beach . . . An invigorating read" [Chapman]

On Muriel Stuart's "In the Orchard":

"Stuart was not afraid to proclaim herself as a woman entitled both to love and affection from men and to her independence. But nor is she afraid to expose her wounded heart . . . Her directness, and her theme of relations between men and women, also give these poems a much more contemporary feel than might be imagined." [Scottish Book Collector]

"The poems are elegant and pointed...This is an unexpected gem which I hope initiates new interest in Stuart's lively work." [Chapman]

"There are perfect poems in this selection, most of them also have flaws - lines, and sometimes syntax, that don't quite work. However, it is easy to forgive Muriel Stuart for that, because she's so dynamically experimental. Her reach sometimes exceeds her metrical grasp, but then so it should, or what's Parnassus for?" [Helena Nelson, in The Dark Horse]

On James Robertson's "Stirling Sonnets"

"At a time when the poetry equivalent of the corporate bigs boys are playing it safer than ever it's a genuine cause for rejoicing that small presses in Scoland can produce work of this quality. Kettillonia Press has been producing superb little pamphlets for some time but none are better than this." [North Words]

On Helena Nelson's "Mr and Mrs Philpott on Holiday at Auchterawe and other Poems"

"The Poems here, in their variety of form and content, their unflashy technical adroitness, humour, tenderness and truth are consistently entertaining and often quietly moving ... Get hold of this thoroughly enjoyable little book. I don't think you will be dissapointed." [Vernon Scannell in Ambit]

On Colin Donati's "Rock is Water":

"Donati's collection seems like some kind of Zen Calvinism, where you can stumble upon a revelation like 'Space Invader' in which Biblical text meets Atari graphics circa 1983, or the prose-poem 'The Interference Structure of Memory', in which wholly new methods of expression are introduced. Quotation would be obsolete: these are poems you have to read in their entirety. Donati is a poet bigger publishers should snap up." Scotland on Sunday.

"Rock is Water is an antidote to the usual mundane concerns of Western life. This terrific booklet, which Donati has designed and illustrated himself, is the latest work off the marvellous Kettillonia conveyor belt of poetic talent... I can't help thinking that Donati is a poet who is nurturing something outstanding within him. Rock is Water is an early indication of much more to come." [The Eildon Tree]