I started to write with serious intent in 1984 during a period of illness and convalescence. Due to a bump on the head I had developed an epilepsy which luckily diminished, and I was able to live free of medication and other restraints from 1990 forward. During this period I lived in Paisley, Scotland. In 1986 I joined a writers’ group that met weekly on Monday evenings in Paisley Central Library. The group was tutored by poet and critic Tom Leonard who was immensely inspirational and from whom I learned a lot about the politics of language. Some of us formed ourselves into a group called Itinerant Poets. We published several pamphlets and did readings throughout central Scotland, mostly in the Paisley/Glasgow area. My closest partners in this endeavour were the poets Graham Fulton and Bobby Christie: we published work by Ronald McNeil, Christine McCammond, Brian Whittingham and Margaret Fulton Cook.
I have always enjoyed writing poetry and prose. My starting point was with poetry and short stories. Over time I began to write longer prose pieces and have written five novels to date, three are unpublished. Two were published in short print runs by small presses: Punk Fiddle (2012) and Neither Oil Nor Water (2017). My first poetry collection, The Art of Catching a Bus and other Poems was published by Ramsey Kanaan’s AK Press in 1994. Since then I have published five other collections, numerous pamphlets and a couple of CDs.
I have contributed poetry, short stories, essays and criticism to academic books, literary anthologies and arts magazines, including: Air, West Coast Magazine, Variant, Nerve, Cutting Teeth, Minted, Common Sense, The Purple Patch, Edinburgh Review, Scottish Child, Rebel Inc, Billy Liar, The Echo Room, The Wide Skirt, Harry’s Hand, Blade, Cerasus, Dog, Dreich, Gutter Magazine, Metachrosis Literary and New Writing Scotland. I also had work in the Clocktower Press publications, Folk and Zoomers edited by Duncan McLean in the early nineteen nineties.
I gained a doctorate from the University of Glasgow for my biographical study of Paisley poet and songwriter Robert Tannahill (1774-1810). More recently I have been working in collaboration with artist Louise Malone, poet Derek J. Brown, musicians Carol Jamnejad, Brian McFall, and others, as part of The Glasgow Literary Lounge Arts Collective which was formed out of an idea conceived by the late Ruby McCann: under this banner we have hosted many live events and produced loadsa FnB videos.
I live in the East End of Glasgow and tutor a weekly creative writing group at Glasgow Kelvin College.
Jim Ferguson 11 September 2023.
This is a list poem
how the world’s horrors scream at you