In The Raw by Michael Malone
Originally, as a child, I loved poetry. The rhythm and rhymes and playing with words. However,like many people, poetry for me was ruined at High School. For years, I avoided it. It would not be too far from the truth to say I really despised this form of writing. Then I met my friend, Ruth. She is a remarkable and knowledgeable woman whose love of poetry shines from her very soul. She also writes beautiful poetry and is has a wide knowledge and respect for all different styles of poetry.
So, when I first came to the village I joined the poetry group Ruth runs in the local library. I really joined to meet people and to get out of the house. However, I became infected by the emotion and joy the group found in poetry in all its forms. I owe Ruth, and her merry band a great debt. Not only have I accomplished my aim of making many good friends, I have also re-discovered poetry and there are no uninspiring teachers to reverse that now!
It was therefore recently at a poetry “Open Mike” session that I met Michael Malone and heard him reading from his poetry anthology, In The Raw. I had always associated Michael with his crime fiction novels and I was surprised to learn that it was the same fellow who wrote the beautiful poetry. Indeed, poetry was his first love. Michael Malone was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s (Robert Burns) cottage in Ayrshire, Scotland.
This is a book of poetry that follows life from the boy to the lover on to fatherhood and finally reaching the man. Michael’s work has also appeared in various magazines including Poetry Scotland, Poetry Monthly and Quantum Leap. His poems were also used in the novel The Clydesiders Trilogy by Margaret Thomson Davis published by B&W Publishing. Recognition for his work includes twice being awarded 3rd place in the Constable Trophy and first place in the Dorothy Dunbar Poetry Competition in 2008.
I love the innocent images and reminiscent smells conjured up in Gingerbread Men and smile and wince every time I read The Stepping Stones. I also defy any parent anywhere not to smile and see the image of their own child in their mind’s eye when they read First Foot. I fear we all see the passage of time in the mirror as Michael describes it in the title poem In The Raw.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a little bundle of treasures. If you only know of Michael’s novels, do yourself a favour and treat yourself to time with his poetry too.