Home truths from Yorkshire poet
This article is from 2009.
‘Times are good,’ says Ian McMillan on the poet’s lot, with the articulate and enthusiastic Yorkshireman saying it in a voice that’s gently encouraging. ‘It’s easier than it used to be when I started. There are magazines, you can self-publish or publish on the net, and there are more Creative Writing courses, too. My son’s doing one at Lancaster University; he’s just about to have a pamphlet published. But writing’s sexy now, of course. Before, I’d give talks in libraries and half a dozen people would turn up’.
The Guardian’s Sue Arnold once said about McMillan: ‘if they made him Poet Laureate on Friday, a lot more people would be reading poetry by Monday’, and she wasn’t lying. A sometime journalist, playwright and regular guest on shows like Have I Got News for You, he’s even managed to tell his life story as a book of poems entitled Talking Myself Home. ‘The first poem in the book is about me mam’s death,’ he says. ‘And the last is about her funeral, which was a tragi-comic series of events with all these pallbearers who were older than her, their combovers flapping like seaweed in the wind. In between, it just came together, one memory linking into another, all these broad brush strokes and then little details that came back to me as I wrote.’
19 Aug 2009, 7pm, Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh, £9 (£7).