|David Morrison |
The Cutting Edge. Collected Poems 1966-2003
Foreword by Gerry Cambridge. Introduction by Iain Crichton Smith
April 2006. 232 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-22-0; ISBN-10 3-901993-22-3
"Though his poetry has a masculine outspokenness and force, he is very sensitive to the feminine part of his nature."
Iain Crichton Smith
"David Morrison takes a clear look at life and all who share it and writes about them (and himself) with admirableenergy. His 'character poems', to take an example, are a joy to read."
"If this is the voice of the north, it speaks from a full, warm heart for its neighbour, and that is a voiceworth hearing in ony airt."
"His poetry is the verbal record of his love affair with Scotland, an affair that embraces identifiable individualsand reaches out to the readers of this book."
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Reviews of The Cutting Edge
His work constantly plays with structure, breaking lines for emotional impact, manipulating white space, stanzabreaks and line repetitions suggesting mood or underlining meaning. Yet alongside that painterly sense of the visualI found echoes of poets known for more formal qualities, in particular W. B. Yeats and R. S. Thomas. A littlesurprising, perhaps, for a Scot to be influenced by an Irish and a Welsh poet, but I kept finding those echoes,subtle though they are, suggested by the turn of a phrase, a gentle emphasis on the nostalgic past, and Morrison'sability to draw out character through his poems [...]. It occurred to me that Yeats and Thomas, both beingnon-English poets, might well appeal to a poet equally outside the English mainstream. For Morrison's work isstrongly Scottish in flavour, some of these poems being written in dialect, others celebrating his roots bothas a poet and an individual, as in the Yeatsian "Lovesong for Lesley", a poem about his spiritual homelandCaithness [...]. This poem is typical of Morrison's love of the abstract, preferring to discuss the ideasbehind his poetry rather than suggest them through imagery and description. It's a technique which createsa sense of distance between poet and subject, and lends itself to ambitious, idea-generated poetry. [...]This Collected Poems from David Morrison would make a rich and readable addition to anyone's bookshelf,especially those with a particular interest in Scottish poetry.
'I am my own life's frailty', David Morrison lats on in 'No More Am I' in his 'Collected Poems',scrieved faur awa frae urban-decreed poetic fashions. He bides in Caithness, an his wark ettles taearrive at the abstract - the consolation he get in the sea, saunds an stanes o the landscape henoo caas his ain (he's frae Glasgow). The 'I' o the makar is tae the fore: thrawn, gutsy,bevvyin; a bit o a lad wi aw the poems tae 'Valery' an 'Lesley' an ither wemen, so ayefeelin guilt; siftin the day's action tae shaw us warts in himsel an ithers. Mourners dinnamince wurds aboot the deid in 'At Harry's Funeral' .
He disna bother his heid aboot parteecular poetic forms, but thereare lines in this buik that spik tae me. Frae 'Village Saint':
You lifted a fallen woman with your love;Frae 'Painter Turned Philosopher' (o a painter that nae langer paints):
she returned to the sale again
But knew a time of help.
He walks and is the road.Fur aw David Morrison canna tholse meenisters o the Kirk, a guid wheeno his poems huv the cadences o the pulpit or Bible. 'The Breath' is wansic poem: 'I have been the form and breath of another man'. The traisiro this collection is its wisdom; seein a chiel yaisin his brain tae maksense o the warld. he paints braw character picturs, that hae the pouertae muive ye tae tears, fur he disna luik doon at fowk an their nae aftenwyce behaviour - a kindlie-herted, honest makar.
He breahtes and is the air.
He sees life and is that life.
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