Thursday, February 26, 2015

Poems by Iain Banks and Ken MacLeod, review: 'blazing energy'

Charlotte Runcie on the messy, furious early poems of the late Iain Banks

Iain Banks
Iain Banks Photo: Chris Watt

'I’m going to see if I can get a book of poetry published before I kick the bucket,” said Iain Banks in the last interview he gave before his death in 2013. He didn’t get his wish. A few weeks later, Banks died of cancer at the age of 59.

Two years on, around what would have been the much-mourned Scottish novelist and science-fiction writer’s 61st birthday, the first book of his poems has finally emerged into daylight. After grieving the loss of Iain Banks, the acclaimed writer of fiction, it’s almost unbearably exciting for his many loyal fans to meet him anew as a poet.

The book (which is called, simply, Poems) is a joint collection with Banks’s close friend and fellow sci-fi author Ken MacLeod. Most of the poems in the book are by Banks, the rest by MacLeod, with whom he shared a long, collaborative creative relationship throughout his career. 


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