Tonguit

by Harry Giles

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about

Full download includes an 87-track audiobook, with exclusive commentary on each poem from the print edition of Tonguit, plus a printable English gloss of all of the Scots poems.

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Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2016
and the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2014

‘Listen, hit’s semple:
in Orkney I’m English;
in England I’m Scottish;
in Scotland, Orcadian—’

This expansive collection by one of Scotland’s outstanding performers is a moving exploration of identity, and how it is warped and changed by our languages, nationalities, and the often inhuman machinations of the State. Tonguit stands as a collage of the early 21st century; of growing intolerance, the rise of ATOS, the bedroom tax, growing protest movements , the homogenisation of politics, and beneath it all humanity, trying to love and laugh and live.

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PRAISE

Praise for Tonguit

‘This is an unusually adventurous and promising collection.’
-- The Guardian

‘Harry Giles’ Tonguit is almost certainly the most formally and linguistically inventive on [the Forward Prize First Collection shortlist]. Concrete poems like ‘Alpe d’Huez’ and ‘Piazza dei Miracoli’ sit alongside lists, haiku sequences, pamtoums, and carefully modified sonnets, all in a smattering of Scots, carefully pruned English, and textspeak. These varied experiments amplify, rather than limit, Giles’ ability to speak to the literati and casual reader alike.’
-- London Magazine

‘These are the poems which you carry with you… Tonguit is the best new collection of 2015.’
-- Eildon Tree

‘…an exciting and engaging first collection from one of Scotland’s most interesting young voices.’
-- The Bottle Imp

‘…a bubbling cauldron of a book.’
-- Martyn Crucefix

‘Harry Giles’s impressive first collection shows every sign of a particularly Scottish alertness to language, political radicalism, and intellectual play. So particularly Scottish, in fact, as to be specifically Orcadian, their language flickers adroitly between that island’s idioms, the urban and literary Scots of Morgan or Leonard or Kinloch, and expands to take down the discourses of power, infecting and subverting the texts of our political and economic masters. This is a poet who understands from their use of Scots that all language, especially the language we use in a poem, is simultaneously intimate and estranging, and they use the full palette of substitution, interrogation, translation, and variation, to explore the beautiful and frightening consequences. Most importantly, they do all this with tenderness as well as tenacity, deploying lightness as much as logopoeia. From the song of a fossilised cricket to what will happen geologically when “a’ the seas gang dry” (and in a pantoum too!); from the blue ghosts swimming in a shut pool to a habbie have-at-you aimed at a dull councillor; from reinventing the language of love by deploying the toponyms of fantasy fiction (how often have I read a reference to Clark Ashton Smith’s ‘Zothique’ in a contemporary poem? – mebbe no that often) to a gentle encounter with a formerly pierced partner – this is a considerable lyric and satiric gift wielded in critique of simplistic models of identity or of poetics, and in praise of the utmost imaginative diversity. From its opening salvo, aimed at a nation wha ‘wadna ken hits gowk fae hits gadjie’, through its depiction of the ‘Hairdest Man in Govanhill’ ‘sittin in his airmchair in the mids o the junction’ weeping, to its closing subversion of Alasdair Gray’s famous dictum, ‘lurk as if you live in the early days of a better sedition’, Tonguit shows the sharpest new tongue in Scotland at its most seditious, liveliest, and visionary best.’
-- WN Herbert

‘Harry Giles’s self-styled “magpie” Scots, with its vibrant vocabulary and speech-rhythms, adroitly and entertainingly brings out the nuances of his subject-matter; while those poems in English, every bit as well crafted, mirror a stimulating range of themes and approaches. With an alert mind, a sharp eye and ear, and a penchant for social comment, as in Tae a Cooncillor, goes an aptitude for wordplay of a kind I like to think Edwin Morgan would have relished.’
-- Stewart Conn

‘Harry Giles is without a doubt one of the most innovative poets working in Scotland today. In both performance and print Harry’s work is playful, powerful and hard-hitting; an excellent combination! This collection is testament to that power, reflecting a talent that should be widely heard and read.’
-- Jenny Lindsay


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credits

released February 27, 2017

Written and read by Harry Giles

Recorded and produced by Andrew Scott for Tippitiwychett Audio.

Text published 2015 by Freight Books, acknowledging investment of Creative Scotland towards the publication of the book.

Tippitiwychett is a small media production unit specialising video and audio production with a Scottish accent. follow us on twitter @tippitiwychett

To purchase a print copy of the book, visit www.freightbooks.co.uk/product/tonguit/ or your local independent bookshop.

Previous versions of some of these poems have appeared in Pank, Magma, Poems in Which, Blind Poetics, Fit to Work, Clinic, New Writing Scotland, The List, Inspired by Independence, Scotia Nova, the National Collective Zine, Valve, Naked Among Thistles, The Rag, A Bird Is Not A Stone, Tour de Vers, Be the First to Like This, Gutter, In Protest, and in the pamphlets Visa Wedding and Oam from Stewed Rhubarb Press. If you measure the distance... won the IdeasTap Poetry Competition 2012. The poems of Govanhill Baths were written on residency there in 2013

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