It’s the birthday of the woman The London Times called “the leading Scottish poet of her generation”: Kathleen Jamie (books by this author), born in Renfrewshire, Scotland (1962). Her family didn’t keep a lot of books, although her mother would check out thrillers from the library. There were two copies of the poems of Robert Burns, prizes given to Jamie’s parents when they were still at school. She started writing poetry in high school, and when she was 19, used money from a writing award to travel around the Himalayas. The next year, when she was still in college studying philosophy, she published her first book of poems, Black Spiders (1982). Her latest is a collection of poems titled The Bonniest Companie (2015).
When we were young, we were told that poetry is about voice, about finding a voice and speaking with this voice, but the older I get I think it’s not about voice, it’s about listening and the art of listening, listening with attention. I don’t just mean with the ear; bringing the quality of attention to the world. The writers I like best are those who attend.