W.N. [Bill] Herbert is a highly versatile poet who writes both in English and Scots. Born in Dundee, he established his reputation with two English/Scots collections from Bloodaxe, Forked Tongue (1994) and Cabaret McGonagall (1996). These were followed by The Laurelude (1998), The Big Bumper Book of Troy (2002), Bad Shaman Blues (2006), Omnesia (2013) and The Wreck of the Fathership (2020). He has also published a critical study, To Circumjack MacDiarmid (OUP, 1992) drawn from his PhD research. His practical guide Writing Poetry was published by Routledge in 2010. He co-edited Strong Words: modern poets on modern poetry (Bloodaxe Books, 2000) with Matthew Hollis, and Jade Ladder: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Bloodaxe Books, 2012) with Yang Lian. Bill Herbert is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University and lives in a lighthouse overlooking the River Tyne at North Shields. He was Dundee's inaugural Makar from 2013 to 2018. Twice shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, his collections have also been shortlisted for the Forward Prize, McVities Prize, Saltire Awards and Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award. Four are Poetry Book Society Recommendations. In 2014 he was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize for his poetry, and an honorary doctorate from Dundee University. In 2015 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Matthew Hollis was born in 1971 in Norwich, and now lives in London. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 1999. He is co-editor of 101 Poems Against War (Faber, 2003) and Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry (Bloodaxe Books, 2000), and editor of the Selected Poems of Edward Thomas (Faber, 2011). He is Poetry Editor at Faber & Faber. After its shortlisting for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, his first full-length collection Ground Water (Bloodaxe Books, 2004) was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award (the first time for a poetry book) and for the Whitbread Poetry Award. Ground Water was also a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. His biography, Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas (Faber, 2011), won the Costa Biography Award, the H.W. Fisher Biography Award and a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction, and was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and Sunday Times Biography of the Year. In 2016 he published two limited letterpress and hand-made pamphlets, Stones (Incline Press) and East (Clutag Press).
Utterly compelling... Strong Words brings together a diverse collection of essential commentaries in a single volume. -- Duncan Wu * BBC Radio 3 Book of the Month *