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New poetry collection marks centenary of Sorley MacLean’s birth

A new collection of poems commissioned to mark the centenary of the birth of the Gaelic poet Somhairle MacIllEain, (Sorley MacLean 1911-1996), has been published in a collaborative project between the Sorley MacLean Trust and the Scottish Poetry Library.
Dàin do Shomhairle (Poems for Sorley) features works by Meg Bateman, Angus Peter Campbell, Myles Campbell, Robert Crawford, Rody Gorman, Catriona Montgomery, Andrew Greig, Jackie Kay, Aonghas MacNeacail, Christopher Whyte and Seamus Heaney.  The pamphlet is the latest in a series of events marking the centenary of MacLean’s birth in Raasay.

The publication includes a short introduction by Alasdair Macrae, a long-time friend of the poet, who says:

“It is difficult to grasp, for those of us who knew him, that he [MacLean] was born before the Great War, before the sinking of The Titanic; before Eliot’s The Waste Land, James Joyce’s Ulysses and MacDiarmid’s Sangshaw had revolutionised literature. Which events, which works of literature, continue to talk to us, retain the shock of the new? Seamus Heaney puts the question in a late-Yeatsian way in his tightly wrought poem’˜Of all those starting out’™, and the scale of the question is appropriate to the scale of Sorley MacLean’s ambition and achievement.”

Launching the new pamphlet, Urras Shomhairle Chairman Archie Black said:

“This small, but important collection of new work commemorating the centenary of his birth is a fitting tribute in collaboration with many people who were influenced by Sorley as a poet and an individual. We are grateful to the Scottish Poetry Library for their assistance in enabling the publication and we now look forward to the other events which are marking this significant year.”

The 32-page pamphlet is now on sale priced £6. It is available from Comhairle nan Leabhraichean (the Gaelic Books Council:, from the Scottish Poetry Library, both online ( and in person, and at a number of retail outlets and literary events including the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

For further information, please contact Archie Black, Chairman of the Sorley MacLean Trust:
01463 230588

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