a children's exporation of creativity




Walking on Scoraig
seventy for seventy

by Joe Murray
Mythic Horse Press
ISBN: 978-1-901129-11-3
Cost: £10 + (£2.50 P&P)

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"Joe Murray’s scope is broad in this book: from allegorical work on nature, poems about love and war, to narratives in Scots, to concrete poetry. The overall tenor is unified by nature with us as a human, often damaging, part of it. It is a political, elemental work: Murray takes a deep dive into the land, the structure of life, ecosystems. Alongside well-crafted love poems, a different sense of intimacy and of the marginal permeate this book. The poet is not just analysing: he is truly loving it all. The title sequence is imbued with narrative simplicity, with clarity. There is sparseness on the page, spaces in poems, and yet, as well as the tight balance of poetry there is all the drama of a novel. The poet is affected by
the nature he describes and I in turn found myself drawn in: he is engaged, up
close, it is so personal."
—Charlie Gracie (Author and Poet)

‘Joe Murray has been a reassuring bastion of independent-thinking non-establishment Scottish poetry for decades; a presence, a teacher, an encourager. He’s still out there doing it and has now produced a new full-blooded collection for this third decade of the 21st Century. It’s a love poem to Scotland, animals, humanity, our poor fragile planet, people he loves. Truthful, tough, touching and tender. Poems in English, poems in Scots. Poems about the big, the small, whales and moths and the multi verse. Lyrical and haunting, punctuated with humour. Poems that include the words dinoflagellates and chloroplast. A particularly strong, hypnotic sequence about climate change. Epic, intimate and charged with rhythmic shifts and swirling currents. A beautifully economic central sequence about his beloved Scoraig with effortlessly perfect poem endings that stop you in your tracks. So it is on Scoraig, no-one does just one thing. Poems about whisky and mice, atom bombs, black cats, trees and bees and a lady in the sun. Humans doing their best, humans doing their worst. Peace, war, fear, hope. This is the book that Joe Murray was always supposed to write, and here it is. It’s all here.’
—Graham Fulton (Author and Poet)

"Joe Murray’s reach is cosmic. He begins, as one should, with the natural world, with Alba’s geology, with the simplest forms of life, with great whales and a winter woodland where wolves still roam. Murray has a deep knowledge of ecology, of climate change and a poetic sensibility to match. Up in Scoraig he reminds us ‘we are part of all this.’ Humorous, perceptive, tender, he doesn’t shrink from atom bombs, the fate of Bethlehem or intimate expressions of love. Like me, you will be deeply moved by reading these poems."
— Norman Bissell (Author, Poet and Director of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics)


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