Five Minutes with William Letford



Below is a quick five minute interview with William Letford. I met William about a year ago at a writing residential that Kim Moore was running. I first discovered his work through this, and have continued reading it ever since. I am very excited to see his reading on the Friday night of the festival alongside Hannah Lowe. You can buy tickets for this reading here

 William has won many poetry awards, including a Scottish Poetry award, and published two collections with Carcanet: Bevel in 2012 and Dirt in 2016.


HH: What are you reading at the moment?

 WL: At the moment I’m reading Dog Run Moon by Callan Wink, which is a collection of short stories, and I’m reading Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, which is a Novella.

HH: What is your writing process? Do you usually go straight for a pen or paper or to a computer?

 WL:I’m gunning straight for the computer at the moment, but there’s something cathartic about the swoop of ink. There’s punch and rhythm on a keyboard. In a quiet room there’s the hint of the ocean on a page.

 HH: How did you decide on ‘Dirt’ as the title to your latest collection?

 WL: While travelling I had a lot of time to sit and stare. Sterile environments like shopping centres were less appealing to me than old hotel rooms filled with decayed grandeur, peeling wallpaper, rusty pipes. Dust and dirt had texture. And beauty.

 HH: When did you first come across poetry?

 WL: I had a book by Lewis Carroll, and I remember reading the poem, Phantasmagoria. In fact, I remember memorising a few stanzas and rushing through to recite them to my parents.

 HHHave you got any tips for any budding writers?

 WL: Enjoy every step. One day you’ll wish you could go back and do it all again.


The January fashion confession

The hat

My aunt shops online using Glens
vodka and Irn Bru to channel the Christmas
spirit. Last year she downloaded some
knitting patterns, began a self prescribed
course of codeine, then went to work on gifts
for the family. I received the yellow and
red Mohawk hat with ear flaps and tassels
Something magic had happened in the knit
Somewhere in the opiate induced
alcohol and Irn Bru trance my aunt
had found the shamanic. A melted quality
More like a Mohawk flame than a hat.

The coat

is a twenty-year old hand me down Parka
my uncle wore in the nineties when
he thought he was Liam Gallagher. Some of
the swagger was left in it. I find the rolling
motion helps to lift and plant the feet.


The boots

are surplus Dutch army bought during the
Forest of Ae World Ceilidh to help combat
the difficult suck of the festival quagmire
I’ve discovered they’re just as suited
to an icy pavement on a tricky Tuesday.

The canter

is how you’ll find me, a yellow and red
flame above a nineties Parka and a pair of
Dutch army boots, sure of foot and swift
of thought with a swagger to match
cutting through the frost like a blow torch.

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