‘Vision of Scotland’: Poet publishes opus based on submissions to Smith Commission

© Dylan Martinez
Scottish poet Alec Finlay has penned an epic poem about Scotland’s future based on the submissions of ordinary Scots to the Smith Commission in the wake of last year’s referendum.

Finlay, 49, read each and every one of the 18,000 letters submitted to the Smith commission on the devolution of powers to Holyrood in the five weeks following the Scottish referendum. The poet chose the “most interesting and vibrant,” bits and after careful rearranging and meticulous editing created the 64-page work.

The poet told RT he was moved by “ordinary people speaking out for their vision of Scotland.”

“I was interested in finding a register of language that politicians don’t use,” he said.

Finlay stressed that it was important to have the voices of ordinary citizens heard.

“People are ahead of politicians,” he said.  “Culture has been ahead of politics. Politics has had to catch up. Any radical political situation where political consciousness rises is really a matter of language. It’s about how ordinary people speak to one another.”

The work, titled “A Better Tale to Tell,” will be read aloud daily at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow starting September 19.

Exactly a year ago, 55.3 percent of Scottish voters chose to stay in the UK, while 44.7 percent voted for an independent country. Support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) grew dramatically in the months following the referendum, with thousands of new members joining its ranks.