"The Nine of Diamonds is so far from the usual poetry collection that it may not win prizes. But it could achieve cult status."
- Claire Crowther, Magma 67, 2017
"The Nine of Diamonds overflows . . . its project is nothing less than a Scots modernist epic poem, an attempt to encapsulate Scots traditions, language and politics as Frederico Garcia Lorca did for Andalusia."
- Sophie Mayer, The Poetry Review,
Vol I07, No. 1 Spring, 2017
THE NINE OF DIAMONDS: SURROIAL MORDANTLESS
"Occulted, fire-warped, close-stitched in freshly butchered skin, MacGillivray's keening rant is prophecy, hot and plain. A sequence of cards dealt in the wake of shamanic seizures that happen, and happen again, only because the poet insists on their ghostly witness. Here are songs of fierce tenderness and subtle cruelty. They sting in salt like a Highland curse. I relish every breath of the fall and crush." - Iain Sinclair
Using a kaleidoscope, a deck of tarot cards and an 1895 Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, The Nine of Diamonds is influenced by French Surrealism and opens with the Gaelic visionary practice of inducing visions behind a waterfall. Treating the Highlands as a Gaelic garden, the rebels on the run as herds of deer, and the preservation of Gaelic culture as a type of sugar-cured mummification, The Nine of Diamonds is set in a phantasmagoric landscape described in the Scots of Henryson and Dunbar but evoking Scots Gaelic concepts and motifs to mix Highland and Lowland experience with magical and occult terminology.
Published by Bloodaxe Books, 20th October, 2016.