New book publication: Selected poems by Joan Ure

It is my great pleasure to announce that Creative Scotland have agreed to fund the publication of this extremely necessary publication: The Tiny Talent: Selected Poems by Joan Ure. Joan Ure (1918-1978) was a Glaswegian playwright and poet who died without having seen more than a handful of her poems published, yet her poems are absolutely remarkable and have well and truly withstood the test of time. This book has been the labour of love of myself and Orkney based small press publisher Alistair Peebles of Brae Editions. The book is due out mid October this year:

TTT-AI sheet2

3 thoughts on “New book publication: Selected poems by Joan Ure

  1. Hi McCaffery, just to say how much I enjoyed your essay on Joan Ure over at the SPL website. I was not familiar with her work and knowledge of it has been interesting – enough that I will buy the book discussed above. The essay makes me think of the canvas print of Alexander Moffat’s ‘poets pub’ in the B corridor of the university of Stirling – a fine tribute to the Scottish literary renaissance no doubt, but the only woman in the painting has no face!


  2. Hi McAvoy, thanks for the kind words – Ure’s far better known and studied as a playwright but I love her poems. Some day I might have the energy to try and put together a collected poems. Yes, I ken the Poets’ Pub painting well – I’ve got a contribution by Sandy Moffat in this Sydney Goodsir Smith book I edited and he let me reproduce a few drawings he did of SGS as well as another version of the Poets’ Pub. Apparently Kathleen Jamie has a postcard copy of the painting in her office as a reminder of how egregiously misogynous Scottish letters once was, but I don’t think it’s as clear cut as that – MacDiarmid was a lifelong supporter of women writers – see Margaret Tait, Muriel Stuart et al, I’d say the big sexists in the picture are the younger generation – MacCaig particularly, followed by SGS. Also, the painting is complete fantasy too – these men were never all gathered together in the same room. I make it three women in the painting – one outside standing against the lamppost, one clad in a lion rampant flag and a naked woman sitting at MacCaig’s shoulder, but still I’d like to see recognisable women in the picture. At Glasgow Uni, the Scot Lit building they had to put up Moffat’s drawing of Muriel Spark to show that he also drew women because the students were complaining…


    1. I didnt know about the spark painting, I’ve seen it tho. Probs not Sandy’s fault that the poetry scene of the time was so male dominated… That culture seems to have done a number on Joan Ure though based on your essay. I think calum Colvin did a similar sort of painting of west coast writers of the 80s and 90s, featuring Tom Leonard, kelman, gray, Janice Galloway and others… I’d tried to make some sort of argument in my thesis about these paintings and the changing culture of the Scottish literary scene but i couldnt make it work (probably due to the points you make above!) and ended up getting rid of it. I still like the paintings tho, theres a fantasy-montage quality to both that kind ofbechies the way these writers have been grouped together by commentators etc. Anyway I’m waffling! Enjoyed her blog and hoping that this Untied Kingdon is treating you and yours well since your return. Arra best!


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