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Collected Poems

Iain Crichton Smith

Cover Picture of Collected Poems
Categories: 20th Century, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (416 pages)
(Pub. Dec 1995)
9781857542455
Out of Stock
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  • When I opened the black chest there it was—
    the pure diamond of the sweet alas
    shining; quietly like a teardrop...

                                   from 'The Black Chest’ by Iain Crichton Smith


    As a child Iain Crichton 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 in both tongues. His divided perspective sharply delineates the tyranny of history and religion, of the cramped life of small communities; it also gives him a tender eye for the struggle of women and men in a world defined by denials.

    Collected 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.
    Iain Crichton Smith was born in Glasgow in 1928, but his father died of TB before he could know him, and his fiercely Calvinist mother took him back to her native Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. He grew up with his two brothers in the village of Bayble, where ... read more
     '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
    Praise for Iain Crichton Smith 'Crichton Smith's work abounds in variety'

    David Hackbridge Johnson, The High Window

    'The wealth of the poems it contains is extraordinary'

    Poetry Salzburg 

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