Finger of a Frenchman explores looking, and writing about looking: looking at surfaces and beyond them, at what is depicted and what is hidden in shadow, at how a transient chemistry of light may be fixed in colour and words.
Kinloch’s poems are portraits of artists and reflections on art through five centuries of the artistic bond between Scotland and France. John Acheson, Master of the Scottish Mint, takes Mary, Queen of Scots’ portrait for the Scottish coinage, Esther Inglis paints the first self-portrait by a Scottish artist; Jean-Jacques Rousseau ticks off his portrait painter, Allan Ramsay, and Eugene Delacroix offers David Wilkie a brace of partridge for tea in Kensington. The Glasgow Boys, the Scottish Colourists and Charles Rennie Mackintosh bring the gallery into the twentieth century, where Kinloch considers the hybrid art of figures such as Ian Hamilton Finlay, Alison Watt and Douglas Gordon in analytical prose-poems.
In the book’s second part, a mini-epic of a seventeenth-century priest’s Grand Tour offers a reflection on the nature of Collection itself, whether of paintings or poems, the composing of fragments into a whole.
David Kinloch was born, brought up and educated in Glasgow. He is a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford and for many years earned his living as a University teacher of French holding posts in Paris, Oxford, Swansea and Salford.
Since 2003 he has been teaching creative writing and Scottish literature at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow where he is currently Professor of Poetry. and Creative Writing. He is the author of five collections of poetry: Dustie-Fute (Vennel Press, 1992), Paris-Forfar (Polygon, 1994), Un Tour d’Ecosse (Carcanet, 2001), In My Father’s House (Carcanet, 2005) and Finger of a Frenchman (Carcanet, 2011). In 2014 he published a pamphlet, Some Women, with Happenstance Press.
In 2004 he was a recipient of the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Award; in 2008 he held a Writers’ Bursary from the Scottish Arts Council and an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for his poetry. He recently held a Fellowship from the AHRC for work towards his next collection. He was a founder editor of the internationally respected poetry magazine Verse and is a founder of the Scottish Writers’ Centre. David is also a critic and scholar with many academic publications in the fields of French, Translation and Scottish Studies. Selected details of these publications may be found on the University of Strathclyde website.