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On the Atlantic Edge

A Geopoetics Project
Dingwall, Sandstone Press, 2006.

Foreword by Peter Urpeth, Writing Development Co-ordinator, HI-Arts (fragment)

     For HI-Arts*, the appointment of Kenneth White as its first International Fellow was both a great honour for the organisation, and an obvious choice. For many years White lived like Joyce and Beckett, away from his first home but not in exile, and like them achieved significant recognition in a wider space than that of his homeland. As poet and thinker, working from the culture before him in Glasgow and in Scottish and British culture in general, White has developed a body of work which, via poem, waybook and essay, has grown to become world-encompassing, global in reach and application and multi-faceted in delivery. The sheer scope of his cultural and philosophical imagination distinguishes White from almost all of his contemporaries in both the Anglo-American and the Continental contexts. His work ranges across cultures and disciplines, conventions and hierarchies.
     Kenneth White responded to the award of the fellowship by further development of the Geopoetics Project in the context of the North. In October 2005 he delivered a series of three lectures in Ullapool, Inverness and at Kirkwall, Orkney. Over three days, it became clear, as indeed it has always been clear from his public appearances, despite consistent attempts by a certain entrenched establishment to misrepresent and obfuscate his writings,  that there was very significant demand for and response to his work. […] The audiences at the lectures were not comprised solely of academics, nor even, however numerous they were, of writers and artists, but of people from all walks of life looking for ideas going beyond the framework of standardized cultural production. It is an indicaton of the plurality and extent of White’s work that it speaks to such a diverse audience.

*A cultural association for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.


Part One : The Fundamental Question
“What is World Writing ?”, a lecture delivered at the Edinburgh Book Festival (August 2005).

Part Two : New Light on the North (three lectures delivered in October 2005).
“North Atlantic Investigations”, at Ullapool.
“A Highland Reconnaissance”, at Inverness.
“A Sense of High North”, at Kirkwall (Orkney).

Kenneth White is a philosopher poet. He makes a case for the geopolitical community of people and environment/eco-systems on the Atlantic Rim. The narrative is poetic and imaginative. This is a book for thinkers and environmental activists who develop big picture plans. The language is clear, inspiring and lyrical, would be great for senior high school and college literature classes where environmental & nature writing projects engages student urge to activism.
L. Peat O’Neil