Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I am woefully behind ...

... in just about everything, so must cut the blogging short and do some other things. Here is a poem by a poet I have only just come to know: The Poet by George Mackay Brown. (Note you can read along as Mackay Brown reads it.


  1. From Memories and myths of George Mackay Brown by Douglas Dunn, a review of Maggie Fergusson's GEORGE MACKAY BROWN: The Life:

    "Despite his myth of rootedness and his encyclopaedic experience of his native place, there were islands of which he wrote but never visited, Eynhallow being the most prominent. He could easily enough have got a boatman to take him there, but he didn’t. Mackay Brown preferred to live his canonical, monastic island in his imagination. A poet’s absences, as well as his or her silences, can tell us much. Not only did his hallowed place remain unvisited, his love was unconsummated."

    "'Better a bare cell in Eynhallow
    And a heart at peace.'"

  2. I've been a serious and major George mackay Brown fan for decades, since I first encountered his work sometime in the early 80s. Considering the difficulty at times of obtaining his books in the US, I've managed to aquire several, and have read and re-read them. If I ever get to Orkney, it will in part be a GMB pilgrimage.

    I want to point out the fertile collaboration between GMB and composer Peter Maxwell Davies, who eventually moved to Orkney himself. There are several compositions of Davies' that set GMB texts. One of my favorites is the early piece for mezzo-soprano and guitar, "Dark Angels." The starkness of the music strongly complements the starkness of the poetry, and the en result is magical.

    I recently acquired a posthumous colletion of scattered materials, some previously uncollected: "Northern Lights: a poet's sources." I'm reaidng my way throuugh it now, seeing some familiar things, and discovering new ones.