Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
Carcanet Press is our most courageous publisher. When you look at what they have brought out since their beginnings, it makes so many other houses seem timid or merely predictable.
Charles Tomlinson

Winter Moorings

Andrew McNeillie

Cover of Winter Moorings by Andrew McNeillie
10% off Paperback
Categories: 21st Century, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (72 pages)
(Pub. Feb 2014)
£9.95 £8.96
eBook (Kindle)
(Pub. Feb 2014)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Feb 2014)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
To use the EPUB version, you will need to have Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) installed on your device. You can find out more at Please do not purchase this version if you do not have and are not prepared to install, Adobe Digital Editions.
Amazon LogoOr, buy the Kindle version directly from Amazon
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • Lafan

    Already your long low tide draws me down
    And your trompe l’oeil of sailing through sand
    Runs my loss against those mussel banks
    At the mouth between island and mainland.

    At mere memory of your name I drown
    And all that sails in me looks to the lifeboat
    Whether Tillie, Annie, Isabella or Lilly
    And What-Ho! herself and the Menai Light.

    From the saintly life of the headland I
    Take spare comfort, grateful for small mercy,
    The life of the head and the brain-cell
    Flashing intermittent signal blindly.

    Blind as in faith, on the sea of language,
    The eighth sea with its own ports of call,
    A mirror world in the world’s image.
    Here I come again by Lafan to make landfall.
    Andrew McNeillie’s sixth collection returns to the sea and its immensity as a metaphor for fate. It also revisits the British and Irish archipelago (‘For which read a figure for my heart. / For which too read a figure for time’s hurt’), following a north-western trajectory from the Aran Islands to the Hebrides. The natural world is seen here in both its beauty and its indifference to human beings (‘There’s many a thing more lasting than a person’). From a version of ‘The Seafarer’ to an elegiac play ‘for sounds and voices’ retelling the story of an English airman drowned off Aran in World War II, these poems speak of lives and deaths across the reaches of history.
    Winter Moorings
    Block: A Pulley Used in Running Rigging
    Strong Lines
    In the Wake of ‘The Seafarer’
    Words at Sea
    Old Salt’s Prayer
    Trouvé: Rigg Bay
    Machars: War & Peace
    Laver Weed
    Island Hopping
    By Ferry, Foot, and Fate
    Lighthouse at Daybreak
    Critique of Judgement
    On Looking into an Old Photograph
    An English Airman’s Death Recalled
    ‘The sea goes all the way round the island’
    On the Rocks Road
    Port Sheánia Revisited
    Harbour Inn
    On Not Sailing to St Kilda
    A Return of the Native
    Round About a Great Estate
    Shore Leave
    At the Landfill Site 
    Andrew McNeillie was born in North Wales and read English at Magdalen College, Oxford before becoming an editor and publisher. For many years he was literature editor at Oxford University Press. He has also held a chair in English at Exeter University where he is now Emeritus Professor. He is the ... read more
    'There is some extraordinary virtuosity here – in one poem, he finds 33 half-rhymes for 'envy'.
    John Greening, Country Life
    Praise for Andrew McNeillie 'A living poetic language flows, easy and slangy…the occasional poems which punctuate the later part of the collection are vitalized and  real, among them elegies that remember mourning his father’s death, and  other deaths, which ring true, urged into being by poetry itself.'
    Gillian Clarke
    'The  finest poems here are witty and elegiac, comforting and cajoling and speak of pervading human concerns with a rare lyrical ease and quiet authority. McNeillie’s special gift is for providing the pleasure that comes from recognition: we can see ourselves in his poems. The book carries an epigram from Wordsworth, and there is a Wordsworthian sense of audience and connection in this collection.'
    Times Literary Supplement
You might also be interested in:
Cover of Leaf Graffiti
Leaf Graffiti Lucy Burnett
Cover of All The Poems
All The Poems Muriel Spark
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog About Mother Muse: Lorna Goodison read more And a dog called Husband: Inuit creation stories read more Thinking with Trees: A book about leisure, Black bodies, and time read more B (After Dante): Ned Denny read more Alex Wong: Shadow and Refrain read more Jenny King: Moving Day read more
Find your local bookshop logo
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2021 Carcanet Press Ltd