Saturday 31 December 2011

White Leaping Flame: Sorley MacLean

Grave of Shomhairle MacGill-Eain - - 525535Y'a eune èrveue dans The Guardian d'eune collection d'poésies Êcôssaises dé Sorley MacLean:
White Leaping Flame by Sorley MacLean: A collection that explodes the cliché of Gaelic poetry, reviewed in The Guardian:
The reader without Gaelic is undeniably at a disadvantage, and will have to turn to the online recordings of MacLean if they want to hear him properly; but MacLean poses challenges to Gaelic speakers too. As Christopher Whyte notes in his concise, illuminating introduction, "MacLean's poetry could not have been generated exclusively from within the Gaelic tradition. He is an exquisitely bicultural figure …" In both art and politics, MacLean was an internationalist, attacking more insular forms of Scottish nationalism and peopling his work with poets from Blok to Lorca, and political leaders from Connolly to Lenin.

There is a sentimental stereotype of Gaelic as a melancholy, exhausted language, able to convey little beyond sadness at its own imminent demise, a musical instrument that plays only in a minor key. MacLean exploded this cliché by tackling the most pressing concerns of his time: politics, nationhood, the Spanish civil war, the rise of European fascism and the experience of war.

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