Billed as a year of imagination and possibility to mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia, 2016 didn’t quite work out that way. 2017, the centenary of the Russian Revolution, offers another opportunity to consider the meaning and value of the idea of utopia.
At the ragged end of a sorry year Fay Young goes in search of poems for Christmas and finds five offering humour, humanity and even a hint of hope that the world is not definitively going to hell on a handcart: praise to “a writer’s ability to touch people’s hearts with a phrase that doesn’t stop wars but makes people smile.”
“There’s romance in railway stations and an emotional tug in the sound of familiar place names. A reminder, I think, of the physical links and feelings joining people in distant places: singular but shared.”
“For when it comes down to it, this, for me, is what it is all about. Hope for the future – as long as mountains stand and rivers run – lies in our interconnectedness. Across islands, countries, continents and generations.” Skye poetry prompts a human affirmation across continents.
James Hutton, the great Enlightenment scientist, was born 290 years ago today (June 3). Here Ron Butlin, former Edinburgh Makar, celebrates the work of the Father of Modern Geology.
Kathleen Jamie – you can listen to one of Scotland’s premier poets here – asks how many glorious May dawns she’s slept through as Spring bursts upon us and we head for the polls…
Never mind the meaning, sense the soundscape: dipping into the newly published Best Scottish Poems 2015, Fay Young gives up herself up to the rich world of sound via Edinburgh’s Shetlandic makar, Christine De Luca.
Gordon Munro reviews two poetry books challenging a west-centric view of love, life, war and exile. Here is his invitation to Take Tea with the Taliban and, by the way, Don’t Forget the Couscous.
The national poets of Scotland and Jamaica, Burns and Marley, shared a passionate concern for the oppressed – and a host of other attributes as well as children born to many mothers. We pay tribute here to the work of the two Roberts – and their common genius.