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The Hammer and the Fire

Maclean Dubois
Maclean Dubois
Publication Date
01 June 2011
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited

The Hammer and the Fire

'Henry Marsh’s new collection of poems, The Hammer and the Fire (Maclean Dubois, £10), shows the poet’s bardic sensitivity to the shades and moods of the Hebridean landscape, distilling a lifetime of observation in a phrase and in tidal shifts of metaphor and rhythm. Yet, emerging after a sequence of verses reflecting on the legacy of the Reformation, the gentle balm of these island poems reminds the reader that peace is usually broken before it is found' – The Scotsman

Following The Guidman’s Daughter with his poems on Mary, Queen of Scots, Marsh begins this new collection with a sequence exploring the life and times of John Knox, locating this ambivalent figure in the turmoil of the Scottish Reformation. Marsh moves via Kepler and Darwin into a celebration of nature, searching within our secular world to ‘find a language’ to render its mystery and concludes by touching on the great challenges we now face. Our striving to understand the nature of things hints, perhaps, at the possibility of a different kind of redemption.

Henry Marsh was born in Broughty Ferry, Dundee in 1944. He now lives in Midlothian. His working life has been spent teaching English – with a bit of philosophy. His Ph.D thesis is a study of the modes of imagination. He began writing poetry in 2000 following the death of a friend, a Gaelic Bard, Donald MacDonald of South Lochboisdale. Four collections of his work have so far been published – A First Sighting, A Turbulent Wake,  The Guidman’s Daughter and The Hammer and the Fire.

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