Birlinn General
FORMAT: Paperback / softback
ISBN: 9781846974861
RRP: £12.99
PAGES: 256
PUBLICATION DATE: November 7, 2019


Hamish Henderson: Collected Poems

Edited by Corey Gibson

Henderson wrote, sang, and agitated for a Scottish socialist republic, for the dissolution of the British empire and its legacies, and for a conception of human value incommensurable with exploitation under late capitalism. His formative influences were his childhood exposure to Scotland’s anonymous song-poetry, and the comradely solidarity of the anti-fascist struggle of his young adulthood. Henderson’s poetic voice, therefore, is at once queer, collectivist, radical, romantic, viciously satirical, and over-earnest. It reaches always for a way of reconciling the voice of the artist with those whom they presume to speak for, to, or out of; and it wrestles tirelessly with the weight of history and the immediacy of emancipatory struggle.This book pushes at – and often transgresses – the boundaries between high modernist poetics and popular folk song; between the profound and profane; between works of individual artistic endeavour and the mass of stubborn ephemera ascribed to `anon’. This collection also advocates for a broader appreciation of Henderson’s literary legacy through explaining the continuum of radical emancipatory politics that might be plotted throughout: from the juvenilia, through the modernist war poetry of the 1940s, the soldiers’ songs, the recreated ballads or `muckle sangs’, the translations, the rousing anthems, and the late meditative, self-reflexive lyrics.

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