Dumfries poet Josie Neill publishes first full collection aged 86

  • Published
Josie NeillImage source, Colin Hattersley
Image caption,
Josie Neill grew up in Ayrshire but has lived in Dumfries for many years

One of Scotland's "most neglected" poets is set to launch her first full collection at the age of 86.

Josie Neill has lived in Dumfries for many years but much of her work recalls her childhood in Muirkirk in Ayrshire.

Her book - There's Ma Mammy Wavin' - is set to be launched at the Wigtown Book Festival later this month.

Ms Neill said she had been inspired by the language she used to hear growing up in a "wee, isolated village among the hills".

Her book will be launched as part of a "poetry bonanza" at this year's festival in Scotland's national book town.

It is the fourth publication from a new imprint called Drunk Muse Press - set up by a group of writers including the well-known Dumfries and Galloway poet Hugh McMillan.

Image source, Courtesy Josie Neill
Image caption,
Many of Ms Neill's poems recall her childhood in Muirkirk

"Josie is one of the most neglected poets in Scotland and I'm really pleased that a full collection of her poetry is being published at long last," he said.

"She's a highly respected figure and writes in a rich, beautiful and vibrant Scots.

"I think she has been overlooked for several reasons - one is that she was a woman writing in a very male dominated world, writing mostly in Scots at a time when it was very marginalised and also because she was living in Dumfries and Galloway.

"But I see this as one of the most important publications in Scots of the last 20 years."

Image source, Courtesy Josie Neill
Image caption,
The poet has long been a respected figure in the literary landscape of Dumfries and Galloway

Ms Neill's work is mostly written in Scots and recalls people and events from the 1940s and 1950s.

"It was a very close knit small community - I loved it," she said.

"I loved it as a child, as a young person growing up.

"I loved the language, it was an inspiring kind of language. And I loved the people - there was a true humanity."

She said she had written about "everyday things" like miners heading home but also more "unusual things" like refugees arriving in the village from Glasgow.

The book will be launched on 26 September in Wigtown and Ms Neill hopes to read some of her work at the event.

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