sun-drunk by Ian Macartney


“A rare achievement” – David Kinloch

SKU: 9781910416358 Categories: ,


sun-drunk is a pamphlet of poems that are meant to be read out loud, of summer jobs/kisses/ wanders, for performance/protest, warm-hotfruity-and/or-sultry. These are poems drunk not just on the sun, but on every emotion which whirs underneath its glow – even in the bright light of winter months. Some of these poems were commissioned for stage, some for screen(s), and others have never appeared before.

Ian Macartney can be found online at Previous publications include The Infinite Fury and other stories (Strange Region), Turtleshell (Saló Press) and Shale Bings (Broken Sleep Books). His work has been featured in The Poetry Review, PROTOTYPE, The Scotsman and The Guardian.

Encompassing hedonism and a deep desire for connection, sun-drunk fizzes with a fierce creativity as well as a sense of humanity and physicality that envelops the reader in its passionate embrace.

– Ricky Monahan Brown


This is gorgeous poetry. Not an adjective I would normally deploy in any critique. But there is nothing ‘normal’ about Macartney’s collection. It performs the remarkable feat of yoking an absolutely contemporary sensibility, encrusted by the jargon of internet and social media, to a kind of high and flighty rhetoric that gives some of these poems an ecstatic  and exhilerating energy. There is also a plainer speech here and some very moving love poetry. In sun-drunk you will find a veritable orchestration of syntax, wise to its virtuoso techniques but unwilling to relinquish and often productive of genuine tenderness. A rare achievement.

– David Kinloch


‘sun-drunk’ is poetry startling in its self-evidence, sun-kisses of sense data in amongst the terrors of the present tense, language-play shot in Sirkian technicolour, a transmission of transitions, an Orange-blushed hymnal that “captures all the essences of light”, an eddying lightline budding & teeming, pure fucking dance. Bodies are touching & we are known. However briefly, we are known. Here is poetry, & here is a poet, that knows that curiosity & compassion cannot be fully-realised w/out each other, & indeed that it is in the beauty of the Other that their realisation takes hold & further generates. Compassion engendered in the nuzzling of bodies, in the inconsistent rays of a shared sun.

In the self-fabricating straitjacket of Language, Ian locates a genuinely generative & boundlessly-compassionate way of seeing. The known becomes unknown, celebrated in the sheer beautiful terrifying itness of itself. Here is the Form as an engine of Brian Wilson’s undying call for “Love & Mercy”, mutually-generative, reliant-upon & blooming w/in the recognisance of a humanity ever-connected, ever-awake to the joys & the sufferings of the other w/out ever losing a critical & genuinely radical compassion towards the self. Macartney’s work is a truth-function, even-&-especially when it lies to you. There are no opposites, only embraces — plural & multiplanar, here’s the Form set free — as w/ Tranströmer, here is a poet that understands & articulates the fundamental & abiding truth that “every person is a half-opened door leading to a room for everyone.” As w/ W. S. Graham, here is a poet ceaselessly searching for “our belonging particles”, a song to bind-&-release as one, ever-dancing into “one of many circles”. Things could be o.k., & in that possibility lies every thing. Faut rêver, Macartney.

– Charlie McIllwain