by Jackie Kay

This collection of poems is described as a 'lyric counterpart' to Kay’s earlier memoir - Red Dust Road. Focusing on the relationships she had with her birth parents, her poetry brings together the language and landscape of their Nigerian and Scottish Highlands backgrounds. This combination, alongside other poems written in standard English, makes this collection interesting, intriguing and unusual.


I was lost in the middle of my life;
I couldn't see the wood for the trees -
the silver birch, the beech, the sycamore.
It was summer: a chaos of leaves.
I went in further, deeper, than I'd been before.

I'd lost my way, my heart, my wife.
I couldn't read and I couldn't write.
Birds fell from branches. I lost my senses.
The dark came down and held me too tight.
I didn't want to be found; or let in the light.

from Fiere in the Middle


Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay
A Dangerous Knowing: Four Black Women Poets by Barbara Burford, Gabriela Pearse, Grace Nichols, Jackie Kay

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