Freight Books Freight Books
Black Cart by Jim Carruth

Released Spring 2017
Format: Paperback, 216 x 138mm, with flaps, 128pp

ISBN Code: 978-1-911332-35-0
Jim Carruth

Jim Carruth was born in 1963 in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, and grew up on his family’s farm near Kilbarchan.

Read more about the author

Black Cart

by Jim Carruth


Passing those unmarked crossings and road ends,
the horse slowed on its journey but never stopped
so Johnny, his song long silent, must’ve slipped off

unnoticed, and the others too when their time came,
like orchards’ ripe fruit, dropped soft to the ground,
disappeared fast down dirt tracks and narrow lanes.

Jim Carruth is Glasgow’s Makar, or poet laureate. His debut collection, a poetry novel, Killochries, received widespread acclaim and was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh Poetry Award for Best First Collection, the Seamus Heaney Prize and the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Award.

Black Cart is Carruth’s second full collection, and continues to draw on his upbringing in the farmlands of Renfrewshire. Almost eighteen years in the making, this collection is a love poem to a rural community in Scotland. The freshness of its language brings the daily grind, its joys and harsh realities, to vivid life; its final elegies form a moving testament to a lost generation of family, friends, farmers and farms.

Praise for Black Cart

‘This book, some 16 years in the making, is Carruth’s deeply felt tribute to this rapidly disappearing way of life, to the people and places and what they once meant, but it is by no means an idealised portrait… [a] deliberate act of defiance’ Scotland on Sunday

‘[a] remarkably powerful and moving collection.’ Herald

‘Jim Carruth’s poems are in the great tradition of pastoral: their vivid and evocative rural environment is the surface of a world of ageless significance and often tragedy. Many of these narratives make the reader think of Robert Frost: there is no higher praise for the modern pastoral’ Bernard O’Donoghue

‘In Auden’s words, ‘like some valley cheese, local, but prized elsewhere.’ The local, the remembered, the lived makes Jim Carruth the poet of the Renfrewshire farmland where he grew up. It is a quiet, beautiful collection, poems punctuated by the names of fields, of grasses, and of disused dairy farms. I trust every word.’ Gillian Clarke

‘For the last two centuries, Burnsian sentimentality and bombast have drawn a heavy shadow over scots poetry of the land, cheapening an earlier love which had helped to preserve its life. It is the hope of Jim Carruth to restore agricultural writing and the depth of its detail. It is to this end that he has created over the last twenty years a poetry of great tenderness in praise of the farming landscape and its human keepers.’ Les Murray

‘Jim Carruth’s poems are pared and unsentimental, as if through exposure to the seasons and western weather of the Renfrewshire hills. I can’t think of any other living poet who writes from such experienced wisdom and hands-on familiarity with agriculture, livestock, and the men and women who work the land. Carruth’s poetry is important to Scotland which defines in literature too much as an urban nation.’ Douglas Dunn


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