This collection of beautifully illustrated love poems ranges from protesting the inequities and cruelties of our fragmenting world to delight in the variety and beauty of creation, and from a fierce compassion for the 'cry of the poor' to tender recollections of family and friends. These poems evince a radical empathy that lives electrically on the page.
Aitken’s poems are illustrated by Martin Gollan, whose dynamic penmanship carries a similar sense of energy and defiance. Gollan’s illustrations lend Aitken’s work an urgency and immediacy, emphasizing the poems’ enmeshment in the ever-changing political world.
Yet throughout it all, love endures, and is the badge of our endurance. Love makes endurance possible. This ‘going on’ is also a poetic method: a refusal to lose heart and hope, to attend to those moments of joy and triumph as well as those of pain and suffering. This collection holds all of these experiences with an equal measure of tenderness and ferocity. It is socialist writing at its humane best.
Jim Aitken’s poems protest against the world’s injustice and unfairness, but they are underpinned by something quieter and perhaps mightier than rage, and that is compassion.’—James Robertson
‘Declarations of Love’ is an exceptional collection. In poem after poem the makar demonstrates his ability to put the reader in the position of the countless victims of the world’s broken and corrupt politics and ruthless financial exploitation systems. Yet he does so through the canny choice of telling images, through creating empathy with the subjects of his poetry rather than using the sledgehammer of a hectoring voice. Jim Aitken’s poems are about people and his care for people shines through. Yet he is fearless in standing up against those who would deny us our identities. This is poetry that comes from the head and the heart in equal measure. It shows us what could be. For that reason it is memorable and deserves the widest audience.’—William Hershaw