The Lizard Silence

The first collection of poems by Brian Johnstone, published in 1996 by Scottish Cultural Press as vol. 5 of their Scottish Contemporary Poets series.

Bringing together poems written since the author returned to poetry at the start of the decade, the collection looks back to his previous artistic interest of photography and farther back to his childhood, while also turning a contemporary gaze on life's unexpected moments. The book is divided into three sections: the first dealing with the landscapes and fauna of Scotland; the second mainly with individuals and personalities; the third with the author’s travels amongst the Greek Islands. Included are poems touching on Edward Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Lawrence Durrell, William Carols Williams and Alfred Stieglitz; landscape pieces set in Fife, the Lammermuir Hills, Shetland, Buchan, Provence, the Ionian Islands, the Dodecanese and Crete. The collection also includes the author’s only published poems in Scots.


'full of stilled moments  and nicely  shaped incidents'    Robyn Marsack, Scotland on Sunday

'evokes...a sense of spiritual immanence in [its] slow still spaces'    Alan Freeman, Scottish Literary Journal

'an economy of language and the sense of times past but not ended'    Duncan Glen, Lines Review

'There are no ragged edges in this collection.  A harmony unfolds.'    Margaret Gillies Brown, ZED 2 O


'commendably tight and meticulous – like mosaics'    Stewart Conn

'sensitive and master-crafty'    Tom Pow

'strong and finished, with a fine simplicity of language'    Gordon Meade

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by Jean Johnstone