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George Gunn

A Northerly Land - Book of Poetry 
Released on 2nd Dec 2013.

George Gunn is based in Caithness where he lives and writes. Previously artistic director for The Grey Coast Theatre Company, George now concentrates on his writing and teaching in Thurso. A well kent name in the north, George was asked to produce some poetry for the Mackay Country project ‘Moving Times and Telling Tales’ some of which appear in this book.

Given that to preview a book is to let you read it (???!) we decided to put up 2 poems from the book here for you to read. We hope to have a preview by way of George reading the poetry which we’ll also make available as a download.

This book was also published in tandem with one of our other artist’s, Iain Copeland, who was also asked to take part in the residency for Mackay Country and has produced a new album featuring this work also entitled ‘A Northerly Land’. George has read 3 or 4 of his poems for inclusion in collaborative pieces on the cd. We will be releasing the cd in the coming months and there should be a preview put up soon for you to decide if you like it or not!

If you buy the book you will receive an instant link by email for downloading a pdf.

(For PD)

When times are good
when there is butter in the dish
& tatties in the pail
& the fish lies fresh & white
on the board by the sink
this is when I see the pattern
in the stone
& the runes hanging
in the West blown clouds
are all the instruction I need
to hear the birds in the birch trees
to follow the ageless black paths
signalled in the curls of your hair
how you are September & how you dance


The herring drifter skippers used to use
Morven as their guide for home
surfing through the river-jaws
of Wick harbour in the sepia years
before the war to end all wars

We spread our people like a net upon the sea
& haul our history
from where the fish have gone
finding that poverty is the absence of our own
& tyranny better organised than freedom

We see the horizon & sail on
witness a man cut a way for his wife
through the Manitoba snow of eighteen fifty-seven
“What” he asks “are the wages in Caithness now?”
Ohio, Virginia, Alberta, the life

searched for – is it ever found?
“Tell the boys back in Bowermadden
the crop in New Zealand is people!
I have always been making up my mind
to have a look home for a little”

In Otago in eighteen ninety-four
Scotland was as close as the Moon
now the wild geese return to firth & beach
we know our past came too soon
no people for Scotland are out of reach

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