Waterlight, by Kathleen Jamie.

One of the more inconvenient aspects of parenthood, for me, is that I can’t simply sit down and read a book whenever the mood strikes, which used to be pretty much all the time. But I did manage to carve out a fair amount of time this weekend to spend with the Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie’s first book to be published in the U.S., Waterlight: Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2007).

Cover Image

Most of this collection is comprised of shorter poems, only a page or so; some are in dialect, but not especially difficult to decipher. They’re meditative, dealing primarily with the natural world, and while the weaker poems seem to merely skim a pretty surface, overall, I really enjoyed this introduction to Jamie.

One of my favorites, selected from Jizzen, to me the strongest section of the book:

St Bride’s

So this is women’s work: folding
and unfolding, be it linen or a selkie-
skin tucked behind a rock. Consider

the hare in jizzen: her leverets’ ears
flat as the mizzen of a ship
entering a bottle. A thread’s trick;

adders uncoil into spring. Feathers
of sunlight, glanced from a butterknife
quiver on the ceiling,

and a last sharp twist for the shoulders
delivers my daughter, the placenta
following, like a fist of purple kelp.