Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2017
In his tenth collection, Roddy Lumsden returns to some familiar themes in his work: the trials of oneness versus twoness, the seduction of small calamities, and vice versa. And the everyday mysteries, of running water, salt and sugar, roller-skates and back-up flats.
So Glad I'm Me also contains many 'conflation poems' where Lumsden has knocked the square peg of one subject through the round hole of another, often music-related. There are poems here about many songs and musicians, ranging from cult artists like Alex Chilton and Robin Holcomb to big names like Elvis and Morrissey.
As ever, he relishes unusual words (nestlecock, twofer, farnesol) and interesting, taut forms, alongside a new strand of mid-length, discursive pieces in the spirit of Chicagoan poets Albert Goldbarth and Marianne Boruch. Lighter and less inward looking than in other recent collections, So Glad I'm Me is Lumsden's most optimistic and accessible book since The Book of Love.
'Not All Honey may not be all sweetness but it’s all a delight to consume. Lumsden typically is tricksy and evasive, juggling, acrobatic. His professional portmanteau full of linguistic surprises. Yet, he has reached a kind of Dantean point in his poetic life which makes him suddenly offer devastating clarities that justify the fireworks.' - Saltire Scottish Poetry Book of the Year judging panel
‘This latest offering is a turning point in the poet's career – he has allowed himself vulnerability and authenticity whilst sacrificing none of the artistry and verbal dexterity upon which he has built his reputation.’ – Phil Bowen, The Sutton Review
‘There is a level of talent that will ransom any project in any school. On the one hand, it will be interesting to see where Lumsden goes next; on the other, he’s so good that it hardly matters.’ – D.H. Tracy, Poetry
‘One of the best poets writing in English on the planet today.’ – Don Share, Squandermania