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Dirt by William Letford review – seriously funny

William Letford’s second collection of poems is bleak, profound and hilarious, sometimes all at once

William Letford belongs in the grand – and humble – tradition of Robert Burns. He has heart, a feeling for ordinary working people (he is one himself – his first collection, Bevel, was about working as a roofer) and enough Scottish spark to start a fire.

Dirt will please even non-poetry readers. It is accessible and made me smile, laugh and cry – Letford wears his heart on his ragged sleeve. Not all the poems are written in Scottish vernacular but he is particularly at home in pieces such as This Is It. I had to look up “radge” (“a wild, crazy or violent person”) but, otherwise, the poem flows clearly on, an accompaniment to the busker. The sentiment he ends with – that it is the song, and the singing of it, that matters – is proved by his poetry too.

Letford’s sympathetic soul illuminates his writing

Related: Bevel by William Letford – review

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