Day One Hundred and Ninety Two: Yir Fae Glasga, eh?

I’m going to try to take the rest of the week off from writing poetry. But you never know…

As I was reading through my copy of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry (edited by Douglas Dunn) I came across some Tom Leonard stuff. What’s particularly interesting about his style is his use of phonetic dialect to create a style which is unquestionably Glaswegian. I think my favourite thing about his use of phonetic dialect is that it ultimately reflects a native Scottish culture that is very much alive and well.

Anyway, enough babbling. Below you will find two poems: the first is an illustration of his style, whilst the second one gives a remarkable insight into his use of language.

(6) Good Style (taken from Six Glasgow Poems)
By Tom Leonard

helluva hard tay read theez init
if yi canny unnirston thim jiss clear aff then
get tay fuck ootma road

ahmaz goodiz thi lota yiz so ah um
ah no whit ahm dayn
jiss try enny a yir fly patir wi me
stick thi bootnyi good style
so ah wull

Fathers and Sons
by Tom Leonard

I remember being ashamed of my father
when he whispered the words out loud
reading the newspaper.

‘Don’t you find
the use of phonetic urban dialect
rather constrictive?’
asks a member of the audience.

The poetry reading is over.
I will go home to my children.


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