jim carruth is from Renfrewshire. An acclaimed chapbook author, he has acquired a reputation as Scotland's leading rural poet, a man who brings farm and field together in lyric mode.
Rider at the Crossing is somewhat different from previous writing. The poems are wide-ranging and often unsettling. Perspectives shift rapidly, from local to global. At their heart is a man reflecting on life and mortality, a person who has—in more than one sense—reached a crossing.
Working the Hill looks at the life time commitment of the agricultural communities to their vocation. It is the fifth cycle of an ongoing longer sequence following on from previous collections such as High Auchensale and Bovine Pastoral.
"Jim Carruth's poems are pared and unsentimental, as if through exposure to the seasons and western weather of the Renfrewshire hills. I can't think of any other living poet who writes from such experienced wisdom and hands-on familiarity with agriculture, livestock, and the men and women who work the land. Carruth's poetry is important to a Scotland which defines itself in literature too much as an urban nation."
"These poems are rooted in an intense, sensuous intimacy with the land— and especially with the people who work that land—re-created in worked language that has a hard-won, unmistakeable authenticity."
Grace Notes 1959 is Jim Carruth’s personal response to four classic and ground breaking
jazz albums half a century after they were first released.
The sequence captures an essence of the radical innovation and challenge to form provided on albums by Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Dave Brubeck, and Charles Mingus. It also explores the difficult social period they were created in, and looks more generally at individual freedoms – that ongoing search for the space for us all to stand up, find our own voice and let it be heard.
"Grace Notes is visual poetry that breathes, it’s a beautiful and accomplished tribute not just to those who made 1959 such a special year in jazz but to the creativity itself, its disciplines and its riffs"
seems to be a natural parallel between the poetry and
the "fields" - seed-bed and sowing, measuring
and harvesting, and a sense of both activities, well
before Virgil, bringing the poet and farmer together.
Jim Carruth does this convincingly, an if at times there
seems a forced determination to draw a very ancient
poetry into the orbit of modern writing. This is no
bad thing: a good concrete poem can be a good poem.
The grand old theme of the fight between order and fertility
is hung out to dry with some eclat."
experiment of these poems insists on the rural, and
its wonderful to see the world of Hesiod through eyes
brightened by modernist inventions. The poems are delightful
individually and cumulatively. they are not all tinged
with elegy:like Morgan's poems, they swim insistently
in the present, towards the future."
Carruth's poems add to the literature of a county of
saints, planned economies, shipyards and light engineering,
by bringing the reader back to the rural, to the fascination
of the tangled mess of set aside"