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The Cleaner Fish

The cover of 'The Cleaner Fish'

The Cleaner Fish

by Gordon Meade

64pp Paperback Perfect Bound
ISBN 978-1-904852-10-0
Published March 2006

£7.50 post free in UK.

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Gordon Meade was born and brought up in Perthshire, Scotland, and studied English at the Universities of Dundee and Newcastle Upon Tyne. From 1993/95, he was the Writing Fellow at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Writer in Residence for Dundee District Libraries. He now lives, with his family, in Fife where he divides his time between his own writing and running creative writing courses for vulnerable young people and adults in schools, drop-in centres and hospitals.

These poems will strike an instant chord in readers familiar with Gordon Meade's work. From the redshank ("neurotic of the coast") to a flock of egrets (each "a snowflake of muscle and bone") his sea-birds come vividly alive, not least in their subtle assumption of human characteristics. This new bestiary takes in more exotic and far-flung creatures while retaining a telling lucidity of description and perception. He spins evocative word-patterns, and celebrates herring fishermen "listening for silver". Then he plumbs darker depths in a startling group of poems which confront familial figures – some from boyhood and one latterly slipping into madness. Still the natural world plays an integral role, his mother memorably breathing into her horses' flared nostrils, and the crows' blackness disconcertingly emblematic of guilt and regret.

Stewart Conn


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Last modified: 16 June 2008