Please join us to celebrate the launch of Deer on the High Hills: Selected Poems by Iain Crichton Smith, edited by John Greening. Hosting the reading will be Bloodaxe poet Niall Campbell, joining John to discuss the new edition. The event will feature readings and discussion, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. We will also be showing extracts of the text during the reading so that you can read along.
‘Iain Crichton Smith should be considered as a European writer rather than a “Regional” one,which is how he was too often presented,’ declares John Greening. ‘He had plenty to say about, for example, South Africa, Australia, Palestine, Rome, Renaissance art and the Russian Revolution, TV and love. He was often very funny, too. There is even a surrealist streak, especially among the several dozen poems here that didn’t make it into the Carcanet Selected or the New Collected.’
As a child Smith spoke Gaelic in his village on the island of Lewis. At school in Stornoway he spoke English. Like many islanders before and since, his culture is divided: two languages, two histories entailing exile, a central theme of his poetry. His divided perspective sharply delineates the tyranny of history and religion, of the cramped life of small communities; it gives him a tender eye for the struggle of women and men in a world defined by denials.
Deer on the High Hills: Selected Poems includes forty years’ work and proves that big themes—love, history, power, submission, death—can be addressed without the foil of irony and acquire resonance when given a local habitation and a voice that risks pure, impassioned speech. John Greening provides indexes, a preface and a 5000-word essay on the life and work of this important poet.
Registration for this online event will cost £2, later redeemable against the cost of the book. All attendees will receive the discount code and how to purchase the book during and after event.