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New poetry collection by Skye poet Myles Campbell to be launched at SMO

A new collection of poetry by the well-known Gaelic poet from Skye, Myles Campbell, will be launched at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig later this month. This is the poet’s sixth collection, and the book’s title ‘Tro Chloich na Sùla’ (‘Through the Pupil of the Eye’) comes from the series of poems in the book which are inspired by the work of famous artists of the past.

Speaking about his new book, the poet said: “I’m very pleased to have the launch of Tro Chloich na Sùla at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. It seems to me by far the most appropriate place for the launch of an all-Gaelic book of poems. The book is experimental in that it has a series of poems which uses the dàn dìreach metres of the old professional poets, but with adaptations. By looking at well-known paintings by artists through the centuries, the poems explore how the paintings reflect changes in how people perceive the world. Other poems in the book in more contemporary idiom explore place, politics, religion and personal themes.”

Myles Campbell is from Staffin in the Isle of Skye and unusually for modern-day Gaelic poets, all but one of his collections have been Gaelic only or with Irish translations. He was Poet in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in 2008 and crowned Bard at the National Mod in 2002. He has been a tutor and lecturer on various courses at SMO over the years, and he has also produced seven novels for youngsters and one is forthcoming and has written a novel for adults, ‘Teas’, under Ùr-sgeul imprint.

Looking forward to the launch, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Principal, Professor Boyd Robertson, said: “Myles is recognised as one of the leading poets of our age and I feel certain that this new collection will cement and enhance his standing. We at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig are proud of the many associations Myles has had with the College over the years and we are delighted to be co-hosting and co-sponsoring this event with the publishers,Clàr.”

As well as the series of poems on art, the collection also contains 20 poems which deal with other subjects through a contemporary form and style.

Liza Storey from the book’s publishers, CLÀR, commented: “This is beautiful Gaelic writing from Myles Campbell.  For example, ‘The Silent Weaver’ (Angus MacPhee, 1915-1997) is possibly the most poignant poem I have ever read. CLÀR are pleased to publish this Gaelic-only collection.”

‘Tro Chloich na Sùla’ will be launched in the Seòmar Cruinneachaidh at SMO’s Àrainn Ostaig at 7.30pm on Thursday 23 October and all are welcome. The event will include music from students on the College’s music degree programme and readings from the new book will be accompanied by images of the artwork behind some of the poems.

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