McCallum employs a diction and style that is historically situated while managing to avoid caricature; the light sprinkle of Scots is used shrewdly to great effect in a sequence that brings Scotland and Jamaica together, layering the figure of the bard with that of the colonizer: “On this island, distinction / between planter and bookkeeper / wanes.”


While it asks us to consider a more complex version of Burns’s creative legacy and inheritance, and to examine our responsibility for the past, No Ruined Stone also contributes to the broader and timely discourse surrounding the history of colonialism, slavery, and abolition unfolding in Scotland.

Jay G Ying
Poetry Foundation