Granny’s Interpreter includes poems which wheel around home, belonging and memory on a sliding scale between tenderness and satire and between bereavement and celebration. Many of them have been coloured by the decades in which Ian Watson has lived an emotional tug-of-war in Germany: between mother- and mother-in-law tongue, between Irish parents and their German grandchildren. They are the chronicle of a commuting heart, from the ‘big flat heavy flakes’ of his daughter’s snowman in Bremen to the drizzly final departure from his father across the Lagan in Belfast, from hedge schools in County Clare to pizza on the Somme.
Working in the tradition of Wordsworth’s ‘simple and unelaborated expressions’ and Heaney’s ‘poetry of the everyday’, Watson seeks to combine the workaday surface with the deeper issues of dislocation in accessible and musical language and images. And, like his mentors, he seeks to give original twists to traditional forms.