William Letford

Rotten with wonder, searching for grit, beauty, dignity and heart

Born in Stirling, Scotland. Based in Winchester, England, UK

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William Letford’s debut collection Bevel was published by Carcanet in 2012.

He has received a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Book Trust, an Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary, and a Creative Scotland Artists’ Bursary, which allowed him to travel through India for six months. He has taken part in translation projects through Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine, and in 2014 a chapbook of his poetry, Potom Koža Toho Druhého, was translated into Slovakian and published by Vertigo.

His work has appeared on radio and television and his second full collection Dirt was published by Carcanet in 2016. 



William Letford reading "Sunburst" from Gregory Metcalfe on Vimeo.


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Extract: 'Monuments of the Mind'

Three men sit at the kitchen table. My grandfather
smokes Golden Virginia. Making a roll-up
has become his ritual. His fingers help him think
So that’s what he does. He teases tobacco from his tin.
My father smokes Silk Cut and has a certain way
of holding a cigarette. Trapping it at the base
of his first two fingers and lifting it to his mouth
so his hand covers the lower half of his face. I don’t smoke
but there is a bowl of soup in front of me. Both men
like to see me eat. The room has been stained
by two lifetimes of tobacco smoke, and doesn’t
physically exist. But it’s where I come for advice. In fact
both men no longer exist, but their voices are as familiar
as my own failings. I slam my spoon onto the table
Well if that’s the way it is then that’s the way it is.
‘That’s the way it is,’ says my grandfather.
My father nods his head. He says, ‘That is the way it is.’