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This report is taken from PN Review 37, Volume 10 Number 5, March - April 1984.

Noise and Smoky Breath Barry Morse
The Edinburgh Book Festival in Charlotte Square Gardens in September concluded with a reading by a group of Glasgow writers-Alasdair Gray, Tom Leonard, Liz Lochhead and Edwin Morgan-aided by the singer Alasdair Robertson, and the actress Siobban Redmond. The reading was intended to promote a new anthology of Glasgow poetry, Noise and Smoky Breath, edited by Hamish Whyte and published by the Third Eye Centre, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD. The anthology prints excellent photographic images of the city by Oscar Marzaroli, reproductions of paintings by Sir Stanley Spencer, Joan Eardley and Alasdair Gray and a collection of poems by a range of authors, starting with Alexander Smith's mid-Victorian 'Glasgow' (from which the title is drawn) and including early poems by Muir, MacDiarmid and others. But the anthology concentrates on the post-War period and the poems alternately celebrate the city's diversity and lament its destruction. Edwin Morgan's poems, particularly the 'Glasgow Sonnets', provide some of the finest images of the urban landscape and a sympathetic perception of its character and characters. But for an authentic impersonation of the Glasgow voice itself we need to go to the taut, ironical lyrics of Tom Leonard and Stephen Mulrine or to the nicely judged comedy of the clash of two cultures (Glasgow v. Edinburgh, vulgar v. polite) in Margaret Hamilton's 'Lament for a Lost Dinner Ticket':


They sed Wot heppind?
Nme 'nma belly
Na bedna hospital.
A sed A pititnma
Pokit an she pititny
...


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