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. Register here and let us know you can make it by joining the Facebook event.
'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.'
Growing up on the Isle of Lewis, Iain Crichton Smith spoke only Gaelic until he was five. But at school in Bayble and then Stornoway, everything had to be in 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.
Please note that there is a limited number of places for the reading, so do book early to avoid disappointment. You should receive a confirmation email with details on how to join after you register. If this does not arrive, please contact us to let us know. Please also be aware that clicking 'attending' on the Facebook event will not guarantee your place - you must complete the Zoom registration here.
About the speakers:
Recipient of the Bridport Prize and a Cholmondeley Award, John Greening has published over twenty collections, including, with Carcanet, To the War Poets (2013) and The Silence (2019) which features his long Sibelius poem. His most recent publications include the pamphlets Europa's Flight (New Walk, 2019) and A Postcard To (Red Squirrel Press, 2020, with Stuart Henson). He has edited Geoffrey Grigson's poetry for Greenwich Exchange and Edmund Blunden's Undertones of War for OUP (2015) along with many books about poets and poetry. He has provided libretti for Roderick Williams, Cecilia McDowall and Philip Lancaster. A longstanding reviewer for the TLS (the collected reviews, Vapour Trails, have just appeared from Shoestring), he runs a monthly Poetry School workshop in Cambridge, where he has also been RLF Writing Fellow at Newnham College.
Niall Campbell is a poet originally from the Isle of South Uist,. His first collection, Moontide, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2014 and won the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and Saltire First Book of the Year. Noctuary, his second collection, was published in 2019 and shortlisted for the Forward Best Collection. He now lives in Leeds where he is working on a libretto for production by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.