When Jo Shapcott opened the door of her flat and the top of a whisky bottle to undergraduates at Cambridge University way back in the early 90’s, first in the queue was a floppy-haired Scotsman with a broken tooth and dreams of becoming a writer.
A few months and bottles later, Swingtime, James W Wood’s first poetry pamphlet, was published with the support of Cambridge’s Judith E. Wilson Fund for Literature. That volume sold out its print run of 300 copies in six weeks, and led to a scholarship working with Derek Walcott and Geoffrey Hill at Boston University.
That scholarship led, naturally enough, to … nowhere. Many confused years spent working as a publishing editor, copywriter and other jobs in London, Paris and all points East followed, until the call of home grew too strong and James returned to Scotland in 2004.
The absence of hours of commuting and cheaper accommodation in Scotland enabled James to produce The Theory of Everything (Happenstance, 2006) and Inextinguishable (Knucker Press, 2008).
Most recently, James published the long poem about modern Scotland, Song of Scotland, to no small amount of controversy in Poetry Review’s Autumn 2008 edition. He has also been featured as the “poet of the day” on poems.com, and appeared in the Winter 2009 edition of Canada’s leading literary journal, The Fiddlehead. He is a contributing Editor and blogger for ONE Magazine (www.iamone.co.uk)
In his next life, he will be sensible. Promise.