The Lost Leader - Mick Imlah (Paperback) 01-05-2008 Winner of Forward Poetry Prize: Best Collection 2008. Short-listed for T S Eliot Prize 2008.
'No poet in Scotland now can take as his inspiration the folk impulse that created the ballads, the people's songs, the legends of Mary Stuart and Prince Charlie,' proposed Edwin Muir. Yet many of the poems in Mick Imlah's new collection do take the most over-worn of Scottish myths as their apparent starting points, spanning the Wallace and the Bruce; the Bonnie Prince (pivotal Lost Leader of the title), Robert Burns and Walter Scott; whisky, Clydeside and football. Imlah's approach to this folklore is brilliantly fresh, a modern, sardonic but strongly-felt rendering of Scotland: from AD 500, by way of a guided tour of Iona, to yesterday at a Dumfries bus depot. And, as the chronicle reaches the twentieth century, the poems turn to friends and family - childhood reminiscences, elegies and celebrations - influenced still by sporting and military fantasy, the charm of history and the power of anachronism.