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From Wood to Ridge/O Choille Gu Bearradh:…

From Wood to Ridge/O Choille Gu Bearradh: Collected Poems in Gaelic and…

by Sorley Maclean

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To be a great poet in one's native tongue is a rare honour, but to be a GREAT poet in two languages must be unique. I have only a vestigial grasp of Gaelic, but a few times I heard Somhairle read some of his works and could grasp why he was regarded as the greatest of Gaelic poets for over a century, if not for all time. When I found that he had translated all his works into English and had them printed en face with the originals, I had to buy them. Once I started to read the English verse I had to read the whole book, not all at once [that would have insulted its beauty], but over a week or so, sitting in sunshine in the garden of a croft with Loch Duich to my left and the Monroes of Lintail to my right.. I often read groups of these verses and usually I can put it down after a dozen pages, knowing hoe addictive it can be. Once, however, back on the shores of Loch Duich, I started on the section The Broken Image and had to spend the next 6 days reading the whole.

My slight grasp of Gaelic is enough to tell that some of the translations ar not literal, and I believe this true of most if not all of them. The translations are not just copies, but true English verse that refracts rather than reflects the originals.

Be you English or Gael, or blest as a bilingual, if you love poetry you have to read this book. Anyone who does not find that they return again and again is not a true lover of verse.

Thank you Somhairle for bringing beauty to this world that Politicians and Big Business are ruining, and thanks to Wester Ross and the Hebrides that gave Somhairle his love of beauty, and still give us a world of beauty, even if the odd nuclear submarine scares off the seals and sea-otters from the sea beside his native Raasay. ( )
  Landric | Apr 23, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 190310100X, Paperback)

The is a collection of poems of the Scots-Gaelic poet, father of the Gaelic Renaissance, presented in parallel text with Sorley MacLean's own translations of his work throughout. His first book, mainly of love poems, was published in Gaelic in 1943. He combined traditional and modern elements and explored the conflict between public responsibility and private passions and needs. This book, and the figure of MacLean himself, are at the heart of the Gaelic Renaissance. His later work develops these themes in a specifically Gaelic setting. His most celebrated single poem, "Hallaig" is one of several major achievements to be found in the collections.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:02 -0400)

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