Kona Macphee’s What Long Miles is a characteristically eclectic collection from an ever-inventive writer, the winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for her previous collection, Perfect Blue.
The poems range widely – nature and culture, body and psyche, the urban and the rural, the everyday and the revelatory – driven by a poetic sensibility both captivated by nuance and ever in search of essence. Woven throughout the collection’s diversity of styles and subjects is the theme of human loneliness, a hurt that the poems touch on again and again, and for which there is no easy remedy.
Whether it’s a pitch-perfect formal poem, a darkly comic narrative or an achingly melancholic lyric, Kona Macphee’s work displays her trademark technical panache and musician’s deftness with the aural possibilities of language. The poems in What Long Miles exemplify her striking ability to blend hard-won emotional insight with a clear outward gaze and a deep, compassionate engagement with the world.
‘Her scattered reach and lack of self-centredness are unusual and attractive. She writes about fire, flood, drought, refugees. She has not one but many poetic voices, an agility – no imaginative leap is too great to attempt’ – Kate Kellaway, The Observer, Poetry Book of the Month.
‘Totally addictive. What Long Miles by Kona Macphee is a revelation. Its vivid, powerful and, dare I say, perfect poems linger and grow in the mind like those dry flowers you put in water so they blossom afresh’ – Regi Claire, Scotsman, Books of the Year 2013.
‘Kona Macphee is a truly gifted poet and I always read her work with admiration. She is a profoundly serious writer whose skill and lightness of touch takes us to the very heart of the matter. I thoroughly recommend What Long Miles as one of the finest collections I have read for some time’ – Ron Butlin, Sunday Herald, Books of the Year.
Published by Bloodaxe Books
Kona Macphee is a poet and self-described “thingwright” who grew up in Australia and now lives in Perthshire. She received an Eric Gregory award in 1998 and her first collection Tails was published by Bloodaxe in 2004. Her second collection Perfect Blue (Bloodaxe, 2010) was awarded the Geoffrey Faber memorial prize for 2010, and her third collection What Long Miles (Bloodaxe, 2013) was the Observer’s poetry book of the month for July 2013.
Kona’s work has been commissioned for various events and anthologies, including the year-long touring exhibition Human Race: Inside the Science of Sports Medicine and Look Up Glasgow (Freight Books, 2013), a coffee-table book featuring Glasgow architecture. In 2011 she enjoyed a week-long residency at the Lviv International Literary Festival, supported by the British Council in Ukraine. An experienced and popular mentor, Kona has provided poetry teaching for organisations including the Poetry Society, the Poetry School, the Arvon Foundation, the National Association of Writers in Education, the Scottish Poetry Library and Hi-Arts, and she founded the Muse Tuners creative mentoring agency.
Having previously trained or worked as a composer, violinist, motorbike mechanic and computer scientist, Kona now freelances as a media producer specialising in podcasts, short films, photography and web development. In addition to poetry, she writes articles, science-fiction stories, music and software, and makes playful short films and visual art. Having abandoned all hope of a sensible career progression, Kona likes to spend as much time as possible absorbed in creating things and learning-by-doing.