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The Raucle Tongue: Volume Two
Edited by Alan Riach
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Hardback (320 pages)
(Pub. Oct 1997)
For ilka thing a man can be or think or dae
Aye leaves a million mair unbeen, unthocht, undune,
Till his puir warped performance is,
To a' that micht ha' been, a thistle to the mune.
Quarried from newspapers and journals, in which Hugh MacDiarmid (C.M.Grieve) wrote under a variety of pseudonyms, this collection -- the second -- reflects his enduring interests and eclectic range of concerns.
On the centenary of his birth in 1992, Carcanet launched the 14-volume MacDiarmid 2000 programme, to bring into print all of Hugh MacDiarmid's major writings. This is the ninth volume. Launching the series at Waterstone's, Edinburgh, Iain Crichton Smith declared:
`MacDiarmid had nothing to lose. He had nothing material to lose. MacDiarmid was very poor for most of his life. There was nothing that anyone could do to him, and he was in a position therefore to be able to tell the truth in a way that the bourgeoisie -- many of us maybe, involved in bourgeois professions -- were or are not able to do. He was frightened of nobody. Therefore he could be quite ruthless with the establishment, for the establishment could give him nothing that he wanted... All he had to protect was his ideas and his poetry and his genius. . . . He was also, by the nature of things, a very lonely man, aware of his own genius -- and to be a genius in Scotland must be like being a leprechaun in a graveyard. . . . MacDiarmid was an open
It is in writings like those collected here that MacDiarmid spoke most freely and suggestively. He was unable to conform, to toe the line, to join committees and groups. Whatever his declared politics (and he declared his politics in many different ways) he was at heart a deeply humane anarchist.
Praise for Hugh MacDiarmid 'Watch him, an angel's set his tongue on fire.'
'Lord God, this fellow is a poet, singing a song even when pain seizes him, or the woe of the world murmurs in his heart'
'Every door in any town should be wide open to that great lyric poet Hugh MacDiarmid.'
'These great people like MacDiarmid are a bit scary, '
Liz Lochhead 'Riach has done Scottish literature a great service in masterminding the Carcanet edition of the works of Hugh MacDiarmid...'
Times Literary Supplement
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