Part memoir, part eulogy, but with outbreaks of bubbling humour, Distances conjures up a rich diversity of people and places, from Glasgow and Ayrshire to glimpses of Venice, Barcelona, actors rehearsing in the African bush, and insights into George Mackay Brown and Iain Crichton Smith. But there's room for a painter (as against artist) to bring him down a peg and for the last time Kilmarnock FC won the Scottish cup.

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What the critics say

Conn has been a considerable presence in Scottish poetry since the 1960’s, widely respected for the authentic note struck by his verse, and among the centrepieces of this book are those essays – part literary critique, part reminiscence and anecdote-on George Mackay Brown, Iain Crichton Smith, W. S. Graham, and the now relatively forgotten and, in life thrawn and cantankerous, Alasdair MacLean. The piece on Iain Crichton Smith, whom Conn knew particularly well, is especially good and the others all lit by a considering attentiveness and affection for the poets and their writings...  The whole of Stewart Conn’s artistic endeavour exemplifies a belief in the validity of the sensitive individual’s response through art, in the face of bigger forces and pressures; his work is truly political in this non-doctrinaire, Audenesque sense.   His  prose  in Distances is an enjoyable and enlightening addition to his work to date. — Gerry Cambridge, The Dark Horse
From the Glasgow and Ayrshire of Conn's boyhood to glimpses of Venice, Gaudí's Barcelona and a troupe of actors joyously rehearsing in the African bush, from poignant exchanges of letters to memories of George Mackay Brown and Iain Crichton Smith, Stewart Conn is permanently rewarding his readers. — Hayden Murphy, The Herald

Whether exploring cities or identities, journeying in the present or into the past, Conn's observations are made with the sharp eye for significant detail and the ear for the telling phrase which mark his poetry ... But if he has a sharp eye, it is also a generous and tolerant one. — Paul Henderson Scott, The Sunday Herald

Confluence, connection, communication between people, cultures and continents – these are the themes of this collection. They are borne by a writer of intelligence, perception and great generosity of spirit. — Tom Pow, The Scotsman [Read of the Week]

To describe the book as a hugely diverse and eclectic collection of essays and poems would be something short of the truth.  It is more like a symphony, unified by a strong, clear authorial voice and the perceptive intelligence and craftsmanship of the writer.  Not only that, but the book looks stunning too. — Pamela Beasant, The Orcadian