The Touch of Time is a comprehensive retrospective of the work of one of Scotland's leading poets drawing on ten previous books published over five decades.
The new work here pursues the themes of his earlier Bloodaxe collections Stolen Light: Selected Poems (1999), Ghosts at Cockcrow (2005) and The Breakfast Room (2010). With what Professor Carla Sassi sees as 'his thoughtful attention to small details, his redeeming gaze, his formal control of impeccably constructed verses, and his deep and warm humanity', he movingly explores everyday events and revelations, and how - like our lives and those of our loved ones - they are transformed by time.
'Stewart Conn is one of Scotland's most skilled and wide-ranging poets. A sympathetic, if quite unsentimental, treatment of the natural world, or the rural one at least, does run throughout his poetry, but so do the themes of love, family relationships, the nature and power of art, and that time-honoured subject of poetry – the fragility and transitoriness of life itself' – David McCordick, Scottish Literature in the Twentieth Century.
'The title Ghosts at Cockcrow captures the precarious beauty of Conn’s work, its departures and beginnings, its lingerings and resurrections… his almost trademark filigree assonances and half rhymes, wry asides and sudden details. Anger, art, angst, guilt and guile, the humane and the human are all here' – Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday.
'Characteristically restrained, subtly lyrical and filled with gentle humour, The Breakfast Room is a beautiful and moving collection' – Anne Donovan, Sunday Herald.
'He stands among the indispensable poets of modern and contemporary Scotland' – Douglas Dunn, The Dark Horse.
Stewart Conn: The Touch of Time
Stewart Conn introduces and reads a selection of poems from various times in his life, all from in his retrospective, The Touch of Time. The poems he reads here are ‘Todd’, ‘Ferret’, ‘Driving Through Sutherland’, ’Tremors’, ‘Under the Ice’, ‘Visiting Hour’, ‘Carpe Diem’ and 'The Breakfast Room', his response to Pierre Bonnard's painting, and in particular to the figure of the artist's wife Marthe at the very edge of the painting. His Bonnard poem is in three parts: the first in the voice of the poet, the second by Marthe and the third by Bonnard himself. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Stewart Conn reading his poems at his home in Edinburgh in June 2010. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed and edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce and by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2017).