Award winning poet, Hugh McMillan, of Penpont, in Dumfries and Galloway, has just written and released a collections of poems focussing on sheep... fighting sheep, gentle sheep, sheep in love with nature, feisty sheep, sexy sheep, post-apocalypse sheep, conflicted sheep, cloned sheep. The conversation of these sheep in Hugh McMillan’s poetry collection seems all too human.
Aided and abetted by a sheep feedback form, the poems give us a sheep’s view of life, and we encounter sheep with ‘Sumerian heads’. Summoned by St Fillan, they notice ‘the fine pitch of madness in the old man’s eyes’, but they follow – self-aware, but herd animals. Elsewhere, a parliament of sheep declares a nuclear free zone from Thornhill to Clatteringshaws.
There are poems devoted to shepherds (including James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, in all the contradictions of his genius). In quizzical, offbeat mode, the question is raised as to why sheepdogs are called working dogs ‘as if there was pay/ and a car and a holiday’. And the haggis perspective is aired in ‘The Address from a Haggis’.
There are also many contemplative poems. McMillan observes a bird sitting on a sheep’s back, ‘foregoing altitude’, prepared to go ‘forever clockwise’. In ‘December in Penpont’, he invokes the ‘ancient meeting/ in the eye of beasts and land’. Such philosophical moments, imbued with a deep sense of the landscape of Dumfries and Galloway, find their visual counterpart in the photographs of Michael Robertson, a lifelong shepherd.
Hugh has written five full collections of poetry and has read at events and poetry festivals worldwide. His pamphlet Postcards from the Hedge was a winner of the Callum Macdonald Prize in 2009, a prize he won again for Sheepenned in 2017; as part of that prize, he became Michael Marks Poet in Residence for the Harvard Summer School in Napflio, Greece. He was also a winner of the Smith Doorstep Poetry Prize and the Cardiff International Poetry Competition. 
Conversations with Sheep (ISBN: 9781912147793) is available from for £8.99. Luath Press contact details: Tel.0131 225 4326