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Donny O’Rourke finds himself in the book-blessed town of Ullapool in May, celebrating the bonfires and bluebells of the Celtic Beltane festival.

Chris Arthur reflects on the inspirations of his ‘odd-object’ essays, and considers the popularity of this particular form and the most important aspect of oddness within it.

‘I’m a proud black man, but let me make it clear; I don’t profess to speak for all black people. I’m happy being a starting point for a conversation.’
Listening as a schoolboy to the great singer-songwriters of the 1970s helped to shape Donny O’Rourke’s sense of what might be achieved in poetry. Here he pays tribute to some of the musicians who influenced him.
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