Top 5 Scottish Poetry Collections – as chosen by Ciara MacLaverty

From the Poet Laureate to a workie-turned-wordsmith, Ciara MacLaverty shares her picks of Scotland's poets

William Letford

Roofer-turned-poet Billy Letford’s poems are fresh and arresting in spades. Forget poetry as a niche art form – Billy could wow the masses with his sharp uptake on the everyday – from the joy of a busker outside Greggs to love lost and found. Seek him out!

Don Paterson

Big hitter on the poetry scene, Don Paterson takes the classic sonnet form and blasts it with new and bold subjects – To Dundee City Council is a riot of satire and black humour. Mercies – about the family dog’s last trip to the vet – will blur your eyes with tears.

Past Love in the Museum of Transport by Ciara MacLaverty is out now (Tapsalteerie, £5)

Liz Lochhead 

Long-time champion of Scottish poetry, Liz Lochhead’s collection opens with achingly lovely elegies to her late husband Tom, then moves through
grief towards light and Liz’s trademark rhythm and humour.

Kathleen Jamie 

Our best nature poet, Kathleen Jamie rightly reveres our stunning landscapes – where the midwinter sun leaves “every fairmer’s fencepost / splashed with gold”. These are weekly poetry postcards from 2014, when Scotland was asking itself, who are we, and where are we headed? A book that’s still relevant, still shining.

Carol Ann Duffy 

A series of love poems holding nothing back – a lover waits for texts, tending her mobile “like an injured bird”. So brave it’s sexy; always lyrical and beautifully crafted. Rapture is balm for the broken-hearted. No wonder they teach Carol Ann to teenagers in school!