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The story of Tuim-Heidit Tam, in English and Scots poetry
These poems, in Scots and English, look at life in a Scottish Ayrshire village before, during and after the First World War. The central character is Tuim-heidit Tam, a simple-minded and kind-hearted man who, being unfit for military service, does what he can at home. The title describes Tam himself – useful and still beautiful despite a little damage. The world is a better place for the likes of him.
Irene Howat is a biographer, poet and watercolour painter. She was brought up hearing the Scots language around her and grew to love it. ‘English is my head language,’ she says, ‘but Scots is the language of my heart.’ She has won the McCash Prize for Scots poetry.
“I had no idea that long before I was halfway through reading this sequence of poems, I would be crying, so moved I was by the profound simplicity of the journey.” Kenneth Steven
“From the first shots fired at Sarajevo, Irene Howat takes us to rural Scotland of a century ago, and the devastating effects of world events on those least likely to have control over them. The key figure in the village is one Tam, who may be ‘simple’, but whose warm-heartedness and practicality ensure that his community will somehow pull through.” Tom Hubbard