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Ends and Beginnings

Iain Crichton Smith

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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857540 93 2
Categories: 20th Century, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 1994
216 x 140 x 9 mm
160 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • No, it's not a question of waiting for a voice from the sky as in
         ancient days,
    or sitting at a desk like Virgil while the empire prospered around
         him.

    There is no such voice, objective and distant and impartial,
    There are no Muses dressed in imperial blue.

    from 'No Muses'

    Ends and Beginnings is Iain Crichton Smith's most ambitious collection for years. It begins in elegy, with the exiles and deaths about which he writes so memorably, and progresses through place, history and positive change.

    After a trip to the Golan Heights, he conceived a major poem on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, using an unaccustomed Biblical idiom. He considers the isolated people of his native Lewis, and those isolated in a wider culture-scholars, writers, lovers, the old-whose need for communion is thwarted by estranging disciplines or by the depredations of history.

    Iain Crichton Smith's Collected Poems (1992) received the Saltire Prize, one of Scotland's highest literary accolades. Douglas Dunn wrote in The Times Literary Supplement of `that purity, that touch of originality, which marks poetry at the limits of intuition and imagining.' Robert Nye in The Times declared of the Collected Poems: `Crichton Smith's net is quite wide, but its meshes are splendidly small, and he is always catching more than he probably intended.'
    Iain Crichton Smith was born in 1928 on the island of Lewis. Educated at Aberdeen University, he became a teacher after national service. In 1977 he resigned to write full time. He received many awards, including the OBE in 1980. He died in 1998. Carcanet publish his Selected Poems (1985), Collected ... read more
    Praise for Iain Crichton Smith  'Over the years [his] poetry has increased in strangeness and beauty. He is a poet of his own discontents, but one who has submitted his unrest to the demands of the imagination.'
    Times Literary Supplement
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