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Publication Date
08 June 2009
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited


by Brian McCabe - Find out more about the author

'One of the most fascinating and hugely enjoyable collections of poetry published in Scotland for many years' -  Edinburgh Evening News   


Brian McCabe’s fourth poetry collection is an inventive exploration of the world of numbers. With playfulness and poise, McCabe brings mathematics to life through a range of voices: a newsreader reports on the government’s introduction of the new number throur, a mafia boss invents Roman numerals, a fisherman gives his sardonic take on Pythagorus, and a monkey sheds light on the Golden Mean. Re-imaginings of the lives of mathematicians such as Riemann, Moebius and Napier sit alongside witty and thought-provoking interpretations of numbers: eleven is a pre-teen sulking in his room, while twin primes are portrayed as detained refugees under interrogation.

Appealing to readers of poetry and number-lovers alike, Zero is a compelling and bravura performance from a poet at the height of his powers.

Brian McCabe was born in a small mining community near Edinburgh. He studied Philosophy and English Literature at Edinburgh University. He has lived as a freelance writer since 1980. He has held various writing fellowships, most recently at the University of Edinburgh. His books have won several Scottish Arts Council book awards, and he won the Canongate Prize in 2000. He is currently Editor of Edinburgh Review. He lives with his family in Edinburgh. He has published three collections of poetry Spring’s Witch (Mariscat Press) and One Atom to Another (Polygon) and Body Parts (Canongate). He also writes fiction and has published two collections of short stories, The Lipstick Circus (Mainstream) and In a Dark Room with a Stranger (Penguin, 1995) and a novel The Other McCoy (Penguin). His most recent collection of short stories A Date With My Wife was published by Canongate in June 2001. Selected Stories was published by Argyll in 2004.