At last – a new book by Ian McMillan. Looking forward to reading it. I talked about Ian’s work in a ‘Poets I go Back to’ piece I did for The North, a while ago. Here’s an extract:
Ian McMillan was a major influence when I started writing in the 1980s. I remember carrying around his pamphlet A Chin? and reading it everywhere – queuing in a supermarket (I’m not keen on shopping), waiting for a bus. One of the remarkable things about Ian McMillan’s poetry is that it’s so diverse. He can entertain primary school children and make audiences howl with laughter, and he can write poems that do those things to the back of your head that Emily Dickinson said that they should. David Kennedy put his finger on it, in a review of Dad the Donkey’s on Fire (which includes A Chin?) that appeared in the legendary poetry magazine The Wide Skirt in 1996:
‘Sometimes I’m convinced that he’s a post-modernist – and one of the best we have – but then I turn the page and find he’s a simple poet of place and community letting the plain facts of everyday life speak for themselves. Sometimes I think he’s a bitterly funny political poet angered but not cowed by what the last fifteen years have done to the North of England – and the rest of the country – but then I turn the page and find him just being funny like Hi-De-Hi is funny’.