Tom Pow is the author of two books of poetry - Rough Seas and The Moth Trap (both Scottish Arts Council Book Award winners) - and one book of prose - In The Palace Of Serpents: An Experience Of Peru (all Canongate Press). His third collection of poetry, R ed Letter Day, will be published by Bloodaxe next year.
In October, Hodder & Stoughton published Shouting It Out, his anthology of specially commissioned Scottish short stories for teenagers.
Pow's first radio play, The Execution of Mary Timney, ab o ut the last woman to be hanged in Scotland, was commissioned to celebrate ten years of Radio Scotland and was shortlisted in the original play category in the Writer's Guild Awards 1991. His second, Wilderness Dreams, was broadcast by BBC Radio 4 last Au g ust.
Tom Pow was the 1992-93 Scottish/Canada Exchange Writer.
Go on, grab it! It's free-
a fresh cut poem,one of a
million varieties at the un-
cultured end of the market.
For all that,
laid on a bed of clean linen,
its faint perfume will fill in
the silences between/around you.*< b r>And even if you shove it
in a drawer and forget it,
it will keep its bloom,
years later reminding you
of a**______________ October day
when they were giving away
poems(!?!) and everything
in your world was**__________________
**complete as appropriate.
Ever since I started to write poetry I have, at various stages, played at combining words and images. The strongest influence I suppose has to be that of the American poet Kenneth Patchen. I work as spontaneously as I can, usually in pen and ink, not kno w ing what the image is going to be when I put pen to paper, not knowing what the words will be till the image is made. I only do them once, so they either work or they don't: to me they work if they appear playful, spontaneous and suggestive of a larger, s ubmerged narrative.
The three visual poems I have submitted to TANDEM for National Poetry Day were all done when I was Writer in Residence at the University of Alberta in Canada in 1992-93. The influence in them of the Inuit art I was looking at then i s obvious.
I value the opportunity that the net, and PROGRESSIVE ARTS: TANDEM in particular, offers, for sharing work which is very different from what I have so far published.
TOM POW, Dumfries, Scotland. Oct 95.
Peter Morgan and Tom Pow