Alasdair Gray’s Dante

William Blake, an English writer and artist of genius, illustrated Dante’s Divine Comedy but didn’t translate it. Alasdair Gray, a Scottish writer and artist of genius, seemed to be going a step further, both illustrating and translating this medieval masterpiece. But three book covers and a handful of illustrations in Hell aside, we have to make do with Gray’s words …

Leonard Cohen’s The Flame

A problem with being seductive is that you are likely to be indulged. Nice problem to have! But for the serious writer – the kind who writes for God, or the Muse, or even posterity – indulgence is the opposite of what’s needed. This beautifully produced book, containing the lyrics of Leonard Cohen’s last four albums, poems new and old, …

Roddy Frame – Overdosed on Keats

I never liked having to waste space on a book cover defining where I grew up – formulations such as ‘the Scottish new town of East Kilbride, near Glasgow’ seemed so cumbersome. So, I have settled on the literally true ‘born in Glasgow’, as that was where the nuns of St Francis Maternity did indeed deliver me, in the vicinity …