Scotland

Poet Liz Lochhead's tears of grief on Desert Island Discs

Liz Lochhead
Image caption Liz Lochhead was talking to Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs

Scottish poet Liz Lochhead was moved to tears as she spoke to presenter Kirsty Young about losing her husband, architect Tom Logan, seven years ago.

The 69-year-old writer said she met Logan when she was 38, as she featured on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

He died following a short illness in 2010, six months before Lochhead was made Scottish makar (national poet).

Her voice cracked as she recalled thinking what her husband would have thought of her taking on the role.

She said: "I wasn't sure if I could do it and I spoke to my sister and she said 'What would Tom say?"'

"I never ever wanted to write about grief, but as part of the makardom I would just be asked to do all kinds of things.

"For the National Book Week in Scotland I was asked to write a poem about a favourite place. I wrote about places Tom and I went to. I ended up writing about things we would do, what was not happening.

"Now people speak to me about it all the time and tell me their sad stories.

"So I'm glad that poem (Favourite Place) was helpful to people but sometimes at poetry readings people ask me to read it, and I can't."

'Very funny'

But the Some Old Photographs writer also shared fond, even risque, memories about the pair's 24-year relationship.

Young described their meeting as a "kiss on Hogmanay," but Lochhead cut in: "It was a bit more than that, Kirsty."

Image caption Liz Lochhead served as Scottish makar from 2011 until February 2016

"I know but it's Radio 4 and there are children listening," joked the presenter.

Lochhead also spoke about meeting the Queen in 2015 as she was awarded the Gold Medal for Poetry, and described the monarch as "funny".

Remembering the "fantastic surprise" of the accolade, she said: "The Queen was very funny.

"She told me about meeting Edith Sitwell when she was young and how she and her sister went to poetry readings when she was far too young.

"She said 'Margaret and I were quite naughty, we got the giggles', and she asked Carol Ann Duffy and I at the time, did we ever get giggles in poetry readings?

"We both looked at each other and said, 'Yes we do'."