Thursday, 4 July 2013

Dr. Ian Olson's Review of the poet George Bruce's book "Pursuit: Poems 1996 - 1998"

Following my letter that "The Times" kindly printed on 7th May 2013, Dr. Ian Olson from Aberdeen contacted me with some advice regarding poets from Scotland.   As I am including poets from other countries and poetry in languages other than English, I thought I would like to find examples of Scottish, Irish and Welsh poems as well.  

Dr. Olson sent me a copy of his review of the poet George Bruce's volume of poems "Pursuit:  Poems 1996 - 1998".  He has given me permission to share part of this with you.  Thank you very much Dr. Olson.

I found this particularly helpful and inspirational:

 "Robert Graves was of the opinion that poetry was gifted to you by your Muse (the White Goddess), and that you had to wait for her graciousness. Then it was your job as a poet or bard to shape and chisel it into final form with all the skill and craft you had learned, no matter how many days or years that took. The early Welsh and Gaels, the Angles and Saxons, for example, would have recognised this approach immediately. 

George Bruce will have none of it. If a theme is suggested to you, whatever the source, it is your task as a poet to produce a workmanlike response. Most of us would worry that this would at best result in verses more suitable for the burgeoning greeting cards industry, but he sees no reason at all why this should be so. When he travels and talks, lectures and gives seminars on both sides of the Atlantic he exhorts younger writers in a thoroughly modern manner - “Just do it”, he says. He sees no reason why this should not be everyone’s method - no bardic mystique, no gracious lady in Grecian nightie plus lyre, just a proper job of work and no nonsense. As a result, perhaps, his poetry isn’t clever or contrived or mysterious - what you see is what you get. But the converse is that he is obliged to provide passion and commitment, skill and care, to enable his carvings to be worthy of life’s cathedral."

‘Pursuit: Poems 1996-1998. By George Bruce’ [Review] NorthWords magazine No. 20/21(1999), 69-71.    Ian A. Olson

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