deer on the high hills

Selected Poems

iain crichton smith was born in Glasgow in 1928, but his father died of TB before he could know him, and his fiercely Calvinist mother took him back to her native Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. He grew up with his two brothers in the village of Bayble, where he spoke Gaelic, and not until he began school did English become necessary. He went to university in Aberdeen (it was the first time he had left the island) and after receiving his MA he joined the British Army Education Corps for his National Service. He then became a secondary school teacher in Clydebank, near Glasgow, and for twenty-two years at Oban High School. Much of his writing was done after work. His first book, The Long River (1955) was followed by The White Noon (1959), Thistles and Roses (1961), and the long poem, Deer on the High Hills (1962). Thereafter, collections in English or Gaelic appeared regularly, including several Selected editions, culminating in a Collected Poems in 1992 from Carcanet (Poetry Book Society Special Commendation) which was expanded and reissued as New Collected Poems in 2011. John Greening (b.1954) has won several prizes for his poetry – notably, the Bridport, the TLS Centenary and the Arvon – and in 2008 he received a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors. He has published over twenty collections, large and small, including Heath with Penelope Shuttle (Nine Arches, 2016). Carcanet have brought out both To the War Poets (2013) and The Silence (2019) which features his long Sibelius poem. In 2017 there was a memoir of his time in Egypt, Threading a Dream (Gatehouse). His most recent publications are the pamphlets Europa’s Flight (New Walk, 2019), Moments Musicaux (Salzburg, 2020) and a Post Card to (Red Squirrel Press, 2020, with Stuart Henson).