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Literature features archive

Literature is one of Scotland’s principal national assets. Literature helps people develop the essential skills of literacy, articulacy, independence of thought and enterprise. It is also the carrier of our different languages.

Each month we feature a poem of the month, with information on the poet and their inspiration behind writing the poem.  We also feature a short story every three months.  Click on the the image or hyperlink to read past poems, short stories and the background information behind each of them. 

To view current features - go to our Features section

Featured poem
Short stories
Featured book

Featured poem

Brian Johnstone

The Book of Belongings

A poem by Brian Johnstone

The Hundred Thousand Places

A poem by Thomas A. Clark

Peter Davidson

The Winter Night

A poem by Peter Davidson

Brian McCabe

Rare Opportunity

A poem by Brian McCabe

JL Williams

Rare Opportunity

A poem by JL Williams


A poem by Richie McCaffery

Breaking up the Cytherea

A poem by Claire Quigley

Dawn Wood; photo: Fanny Lam Christie

Sonnet of the Noctuoid Moth

A poem by Dawn Wood

Hamish Whyte


A poem by Hamish Whyte

Dilys Rose; Photo: Hugh Vernon

Yew, Fortingall

A poem by Dilys Rose

Jen Hadfield


A poem by Jen Hadfield

Care for Another?

A poem by Donny O'Rourke

Catriona Malan; Photo: Colin Will


A poem by Catriona Malan

Mick Imlah

London Scottish by Mick Imlah

Poem of the month for December 2008


A poem by Jim C. Wilson

Poem of the Month for November 2008

Ken Cockburn


by Ken Cockburn

Poem of the Month for October 2008

Long Ago

by Douglas Dunn

Poem of the Month for September 2008


by Tom Pow

Poem of the Month for August 2008



by Gerry McGrath

Poem of the Month for July 2008


Open books; Photo: Rebecca Moyce

The Calvinist

by Kenneth Steven

Poem of the Month for June 2008

JAne McKie; Photo: Phil Raines 


by Jane McKie

Poem of the Month for May 2008


A Journey to the Letter-Box

by Angus Peter Campbell

Take a look at our poem for April 2008

I watch the robin

March poem by Hamish Whyte

Gerrie Fellows; Photo: Morven Gregor


February Poem by Gerrie Fellows

Blake's Wife by Tessa Ransford

Featured in January 2008

Aonghas MacNeacail; Photo: Murdo Macleod

No rumour by Aonghas MacNeacail

Featured in December 2007

Alison Fekk; Photo: Ivan Coleman

Heart - breaker by Alison Fell

Featured in November 2007

Magi Gibson; Photo: Ian Macpherson

Planting Crocuses with My Mother by Magi Gibson

Featured in October 2007

Andrew Greig; Photo: Lesley Glaister

Orkney/This Life by Andrew Greig

Featured in September 2007

Gordon Jarvie

Sometimes by Gordon Jarvie

Featured in August 2007

Angus Martin; Photo: George McSporran

The Tiller by Angus Martin

Featured in July 2007

William Hershaw; Photo William Hershaw

Black Watch by William Hershaw

Featured in June 2007

Roddy Lumsden; Photo: Joanna Quinn, Bloodaxe Books

Voyeur by Roddy Lumsden

Featured in May 2007.

Mandy Haggith; Photo: Bill Ritchie

Geese by Maggie Haggith

Featured in April 2007

Valerie Gillies

Berserk in Morningside by Valerie Gillies

Featured in March 2007

Maurice Lindsay; Photo: Mrs Barr

On Balance by Maurice Lindsay

Featured in February 2007

Dilys Rose; Photo: Robin Gillanders

Neverthriving of Jugglers by Dilys Rose

Featured in December 2006 and January 2007

Alan Gay

Gale Warning by Alan Gay

Featured in November 2006

Robert Davidson; Photo: Courtesy of Sandstone Press

In Strathfillan by Robert Davidson

Featured in October 2006

Jen Hadfield; Photo: Jen Hadfield

Thrimilce - Isbister by Jen Hadfield

Featured in September 2006

Open books; Photo: Rebecca Moyce

Mise Agus Pangur Bàn (The Monk and Pangur Bàn) by Meg Bateman

Featured in August 2006

Sally Evans; Photo: Colin Will

Real Thistles by Sally Evans

Featured in June and July 2006

Richard Price

A News by Richard Price

Featured in May 2006

Robin Robertson; Photo: Niall McDiarmid

On Pharos by Robin Robertson

Featured in April 2006

Derick S. Thomson; Photo: Dòmhnall R. Thomson

Bho Ghèig gu Lèig (From Branch to Jewel) by Derick S. Thomson

Featured in March 2006

Anna Crowe; Photo: Swithun Crowe

Scops Owl by Anna Crowe

Featured in February 2006

Hugh McMillan

The Plot Unfolds by Hugh McMillan

Featured in January 2006

Meta MaltmanMeta Maltman

Moral Problem by Meta Maltman

Featured in November and December 2005

Ron Butlin; Photo: Regi Claire

Absinthe with Eddie by Ron Butlin

Featured in October 2005

Larry Butler

Long Breath of Hills by Larry Butler

Featured in September 2005

Helena Nelson; Photo: Michael Ward

Self-portrait as an Unsuitable Poem by Helena Nelson

Featured in August 2005

Alison Prince and granddaughter

Foxgloves by Alison Prince

Featured in July 2005

Stewart Conn; Photo: Roddy Simpson Angel with Lute by Stewart Conn

Featured in June 2005

Lyn Moir; Photo: Katy Moir

Twenty-first Century Kid by Lyn Moir

Featured in May 2005

Kevin MacNeil

Corneal Graft by Kevin MacNeil

Featured in April 2005

Jackie Kay

Late Love by Jackie Kay

Featured in March 2005

Don Paterson

The Wreck by Don Paterson

Featured in February 2005

No picture              Star by Rody Gorman   
available at        
present                 Featured in January 2005

No picture available at present

          Raspberries by Kate Clanchy

          Featured in December 2004

No picture              A Book of Favourite Horse Stories by Tracey Herd
available at           
present                  Featured in November 2004

Gerry Cambridge; Photo: Caroline Wilson

First Morning at Au Diable Vauvert by Gerry Cambridge

Featured in October 2004

John Burnside (left) with Yuli Gugolev, in Moscow, September 2000

Homage to Kare Kivijarvi by John Burnside

Featured in September 2004

Cover of 'Selling Manhattan'

Miles Away by Carol Ann Duffy

Featured in August 2004


Short stories

Donal McLaughlin

big trouble

A short story by Donal McLaughlin

Long White Cloud

A short story by Alan Spence

Susie Maguire

First Catch Your Poet

A short story by Susie Maguire

Polar Bears

A short story by Carol Anderson

Linda Cracknell

The Last Tweed

A Short story by Linda Cracknell

Benchmark by Lari Don

Featured from April - June 2008

No image available at present

 The Snow Won't Lie for Long by Alan Bisset

 Featured from January - March 2008

Sylvia Pearson; Photo: Jennifer G Quinn

The Magnolia Tree by Sylvia Pearson

Featured from September - December 2007

Alison Irvine; Photo: Edward Burns

That Never Felt a Wound by Alison Irvine

Featured from June - August 2007

Jackie Kay; Photo: Howard Barlow

Grace and Rose by Jackie Kay

Featured from March to May 2007.

Stuart Delves

The Spit Boy by Stuart Delves

Featured from December 2006 to February 2007

Esther Woolfson; Photo courtesy of Moondust Media

Chagall by Esther Woolfson

Featured from September - November 2006

Brian McCabe; Photo: Kevin McLean

A Simple Thing by Brian McCabe  

Featured from June - August 2006

Ronald Frame

Resorts and Devices by Ronald Frame

Featured from March - May 2006


Merryn Glover; Photo: Margot Mackay

Death's Door by Merryn Glover

Featured from December 2005 - February 2006

Meaghan Delahunt; Photo: Catherine Ash

The Mani by Meaghan Delahunt

Featured from September - November 2005

Regi Claire

Fighting It by Regi Claire

Featured from June - August 2005

No picture available at present              

The Pass by Kirsty Gunn

Featured from March - May 2005


Ron Butlin  

The Sheriff and Susie and Swanny by Ron Butlin

Featured from December 2004 - February 2005

No picture
available at present             

Twatt's Tearoom by Duncan McLean

Featured from September - November 2004

Featured book

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

A book by Geoff Dyer

The Story of the Scotland National Team

A new sports book for children

An Leabhar Mor

The Great Book Of Gaelic

Ma Brun's cookbook

Maw Broon’s But An’ Ben Cookbook

Book of the Month by Scotland's best loved matriarch

Bucket of Frogs

New Writing Scotland 26: Bucket of Frogs

Book by Liz Niven and Brian Whittingham (editors)

Paying for it

Featured in August 2008

James the Good: The Black Douglas

Featured in July 2008


Mettings on the Edge

Featured in June 2008

Scotland Recommends; Cover Image: Luath Press

Scotland Recommends

Featured in May 2008

Pitchblack; Published by Sphere

Pitch Black

by Alex Gray

Featured in April 2008

Castles of the Clans; Published by Goblinshead

Castles of the Clans

by Martin Coventry

Featured in March 2008

Jeckyll and Hyde, image curtesy of Waverley books

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Adaptation by Alan Grant
Illustrations by Cam Kennedy

Featured in February 2008

*Book December 2008
*Book November 2008
*Book October 2008
*Book September 2008
*Book August 2008
*Book July 2008
*Book June 2008
*Book May 2008
*Book April 2008
*Book March 2008
*Book February 2008
*Poem May 2009
*Poem April 2009
*Poem March 2009
*Poem February 2009
*Poem January 2009
*Poem December 2008
*Poem November 2008
*Poem October 2008
*Poem September 2008
*Poem August 2008
*Poem July 2008
*Poem June 2008
*Poem May 2008
*Poem April 2008
*Poem March 2008
*Poem February 2008
*Poem January 2008
*Poem December 2007
*Poem November 2007
*Poem October 2007
*Poem September 2007
*Poem August 2007
*Poem July 2007
*Poem June 2007
*Poem May 2007
*Poem April 2007
*Poem March 2007
*Poem February 2007
*Poem December 2006 & January 2007
*Poem November 2006
*Poem October 2006
*Poem September 2006
*Poem August 2006
*Poem June & July 2006
*Poem May 2006
*Poem April 2006
*Poem March 2006
*Poem February 2006
*Poem January 2006
*Poem November & December 2005
*Poem October 2005
*Poem September 2005
*Poem August 2005
*Poem July 2005
*Poem June 2005
*Poem May 2005
*Poem April 2005
*Poem March 2005
*Poem February 2005
*Poem January 2005
*Poem December 2004
*Poem November 2004
*Poem October 2004
*Poem September 2004
*Poem August 2004
*Short Story: Polar Bear
*Short Story: The Last Tweed
*Short story: Benchmark
*Short story: The snow won't lie long
*Short story: The Magnolia Tree
*Short story: That never felt a wound
*Short story: Grace and Rose
*Short story: The Spit Boy
*Short story: Chagall
*Short story: A Simple Thing
*Short story: Resorts and Devices
*Short story: Death's Door
*Short story: The Mani
*Short story: Fighting It
*Short story: The Pass
*Short story: Sheriff, Susie and Swanny
*Short story: Twatt's Tearoom
*Short Story: First Catch Your Poet
*Poem June 2009
*Poem July 2009
*Poem August 2009
*Book january 2009
*Short Story : Long White Cloud
*Poem September 2009
*Poem October 2009
*Poem November 2009
*Short Story: big trouble
*Poem December 2009
Related links
* Featured short story
* Featured poem of the month
* Scots poem of the month
* Literature homepage
* Showcase
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