What are the contours of a life? For Andrew Greig: childhood, adolescence, the country then the city, sex, love, marriage, break-ups and breakdowns personal and political, mountain adventures, illness and recovery, increased awareness of mortality and the preciousness of the moments left, late love… they’re all here in these wildly diverse, affirmative, open-hearted poems.
As a poet and latterly as a novelist, Andrew Greig is one of Scotland’s most esteemed writers. Each of his poetry books has been distinctively different, from the early and late poems rooted in the natural world, to the game-playing extended narratives of exultation and risk, from human love to the mountaineering poems. But this selection covering 35 years of his poetry shows how the thrust of all his work is the re-enchantment of this life.
‘Andrew Greig is a Scottish poet of sensitivity and resilience. He deals with high-risk situations – from mountaineering to love – and is particularly good at presenting the gamut of feelings involved in rites of passage: high endeavour, commitment, holding back, drift, release’ – Edwin Morgan.
‘When I first read the poems, I started writing down the ones I was really impressed by, but I gave that up after I’d written down 4 of the first 5. I doubt if there is a weak one in the collection. They interest me for their subject-matter and use of it – very subtle, often very unexpected, always on a nicely serious level, not without wit’ – Norman MacCaig.
‘A lyric poet of rare gusto’ – Peter Porter, Observer.
‘There is little doubt he is one of Scotland’s major writers’ – New Statesman.
‘It is now a commonplace to say that most exciting new writing comes from north of the Border. If further proof were needed, Greig provides it’ – Erica Wagner, The Times.