Kathleen Jamie is one of Scotland’s finest poets, her voice unmistakably her own and as original as originality gets, penetratingly and magically perceptive, about the nature of perception itself, the natural world, and the human condition. Her range and reach are extraordinary but of a piece. No poet writing today is as moving or poetically, and poignantly, alive to the world about her, present and past.
Her new work, a sequence in three parts ‘Water’, ‘Trees’, ‘Bryrophytes’, with an autumnal ‘Epilogue’ (in all, more than 300 lines long), was written for radio, to be broadcast on Radio 3, as part of a documentary entitled ‘Secrets of the Scottish Rainforest’, on 28 May 2023. It tells a story of a temperate rainforest on the Atlantic coastline, near the Sound of Mull, from ground-level microscopic intimacy, with water, mosses, lichens, to the larger picture among oak and hazel woods, a unique green ecosystem, under threat and needing conservation. The poem is both a celebration and a word of warning, a hymn of praise and, by implication, an elegy-in-waiting.
The broadcast, in the BBC series ‘Between the Ears’, includes music by the Scottish composer Erland Cooper and Alice Boyd.
Jamie is the current Scottish Makar (National Poet). Her most recent collection The Bonniest Companie was published in 2015, her Selected Poems in 2018.