Jackie Kay’s first collection as Scottish Makar is a book about the fighting spirit – one, the poet argues, that we need now more than ever. Bantam brings three generations into sharp focus – Kay’s own, her father’s, and his own father’s – to show us how the body holds its own story. Kay shows how old injuries can emerge years later; how we bear and absorb the loss of friends; how we celebrate and welcome new life; and how we how we embody our times, whether we want to or not.
Bantam crosses borders, from Rannoch Moor to the Somme, from Brexit to Bronte country. Who are we? Who might we want to be? These are poems that sing of what connects us, and lament what divides us; poems that send daylight into the dark that threatens to overwhelm us – and could not be more necessary to the times in which we live.