Wednesday, May 5, 2021 8:45 am
By Nehru Odeh
It sounds strange but true. And it gives credence to the popular saying that age is just a number. Gordon McCulloch, a 92-year-old Scottish grandfather has becomes a bestselling poet on Amazon with his poetry collection, 101 Poems.
According to the Guardian UK, the book, which covered “a wide range of topics such as love, romance, relationships, religion, prayer, the meaning of life, death and our relationship with God,” became a surprise bestseller, topping the poetry anthology charts for Amazon in the UK and receiving more than 1,000 five-star reviews. And currently it is sitting on No 14 on Amazon’s poetry charts and No 8 in the US.
However, a remarkable thing about this feat is that the self-published poet outsold Amanda Gorman and Rupi Kaur on Amazon in the UK last week after his granddaughter Jessica Keachie asked her followers on Twitter to take a look at the book in April. “A review would make him so happy,” she tweeted.
Her tweet went viral, receiving almost 300,000 likes as readers around the world signified interest in the book. “What started as a family project just so all my grandpa’s poems were in the same place and an attempt at getting a few reviews from family and friends has escalated into an unimaginable dream of his. We only expected 100 books to sell but now his words are all over the world,” Keachie wrote on Twitter, as the book shot up the charts. “I am thankful I’ve been able to put a smile on his face because that was all I wanted,” Keachie said
However another intriguing thing about this feat, as McCulloch’s son William told the Guardian is that his father who was “over the moon” at the sales “has been writing poetry for years, and sent it to different places, but always got rejected.”
“At his age, it’s one of those things he didn’t think would happen. Now he’s looking around for poems he didn’t use for a sequel.” William’s brother Gordon helped their father self-publish the book and “it just went nuts”, William said.
William believes the poems, in which his father writes about his life and relationship with his late wife Mary, who died from cancer, have touched a chord with people because “they’re honest”.
“People can relate to them. If you look at the reviews, a lot of people are saying that it reminds them of their grandparents or parents,” he said.
Though the poems are simple, they are easy to digest and strike a chord with readers. In “You”, McCulloch writes of how “Because I found you in my life / you made this world for me / a heaven filled with ecstasy / a place worthwhile to be”, adding: “If only for a little time / we spent it both together / I won’t forget I don’t regret / the time we spent together”.
McCulloch, who lives in Braidwood, has been handing out copies of his book to neighbours since sales took off. – “(Braidwood is) just a wee village, if you pass through and you blink, you’d miss it,” said William – and “He’s really chuffed, he’s had a wee tear in his eye, these things give him a boost. What I’ve noticed is he’s got a wee spring in his step as well,” he said.
“He just looks after his wee pony, that’s basically it. The whole family is over the moon with it. Over the years – this sounds bad – we’ve been subjected to his poetry, we would just say, ‘That’s great Dad, that’s brilliant.’ He’s proved us all wrong.”
“Illustrated by McCulloch, 101 Poems includes some poems which “have been written in a manner that will provoke your innermost emotions, while others dig into the amusing side of life”, according to its description on Amazon. But “all have been composed under the auspices of the Muse,” Says the Guardian.