Marjorie Lotfi Gill’s poems have won competitions, been published widely in journals and anthologies (including Ambit, Gutter, Magma, The North, Rattle and The Rialto) and been performed on BBC Radio 4. Her pamphlet Refuge, poems about her childhood in revolutionary Iran, was published by Tapsalteerie Press in 2018. She was commissioned to write Pilgrim, a sequence about migration between Iran and the US, for the St Magnus Festival; and Bridge, a companion sequence about a woman’s migration within Europe, for the University of Edinburgh.
Marjorie is one of the first recipients of the Scottish Book Trust’s Ignite Fellowship. She has also been Writer in Residence at Jupiter Artland, Spring Fling and the Wigtown Book Festival.
Marjorie founded The Belonging Project, exploring the refugee experience, and is a founder and director of Open Book, a charity reading in community settings across Scotland. She is the Chair of the Wigtown Book Festival.
Her grandfather always said
that everything she’d need
was beneath the grey of its shell;
the signposts of winter would come
from its height, the strength
of its spine, how long it resisted
before nodding its head to wind.
When she left, she took nothing
but the seeds, their rattle in the tiny
tin better than money; no one else
would know the shade of soil
for planting, want flocks of birds
for friends. Now, she sleeps with them
under her pillow where they grow
into her dreams, stakes to lean against
on each crossing, and wakes
picking at yellow petals
tangled in her hair.
First published in Refuge, Tapsalteerie, 2018