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Recommended Book #2

Combined with a knack for capturing the rhythms of everyday talk and conjuring believable characters, these qualities have seen Kay able to communicate the highly personal in a relatable, wholly public fashion.

Her latest collection, Fiere, is no exception. Billed as the "lyric counterpart" to her recent memoir, Red Rust Road, which maps Kay's search for her Nigerian birth father and Highland birth mother, it is a book unsurprisingly concerned with family and relationships. From the opening title poem – "fiere" is an old Scots word meaning "companion" or "mate" – a warm, capacious optimism is apparent, telling of a lasting friendship with songlike rhythms, bubbly rhymes, and a hectic mix of new and old Scots dialect: "O'er a lifetime, my fiere, my bonnie lassie, / I'd defend you – you, me; blithe and blatter, / here we gang doon the hill, nae matter, / past the bracken, bonny braes, barley, / oot by the roaring sea, still havin a blether."

As throughout, the use of vernacular here serves to bolster the sentiment: the poem may offer nothing especially thought-provoking in its cheery address, but in balancing sincerity with knowingness and uncertainty, Kay succeeds in invoking such feelings genuinely and openly.

An absolute treat for the lovers of true creative, emotive writing.

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