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Against the backdrop of a stormy sky. . . .

This year we’re flying the Blue Saltire at our masthead as the good ship ARCHIPELAGO jibes and takes the weather’s bearings, steadying sail flapping, bilge pump outlet spluttering, riding light drawing ‘eight and eight’ against the backdrop of a stormy sky. Meanwhile remembering Hugh MacDiarmid aboard the herring fisher Valkyrie (‘lying in his bunk and writing incessantly’) off the Shetlands in 1936, I lie in mine, reading A Book Around the Irish Sea: History without nations by David Brett. Published in 2009, this inspirational study in place and locality has an approach similar in spirit to our manifesto, first published in issue 1 (Summer 2007). The magazine’s line in referring to an unnameable archipelago has been criticised for denying history.…

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Poets of Calling, Ports of Call

GEOFFREY HILL It’s 1 January 2012 as I write this. Geoffrey Hill has been knighted and we send our warm congratulations. We are pleased to have been involved in a successful campaign in his honour and to have written at some length to the appropriate mandarins. Sir Geoffrey is very dear to our hearts and much in mind as we work to bring his new book of poems ODI BARBARE to press. The poet takes fastidious interest in typography and production. Currently we are weighing the odds between Bodoni and Clutag’s more customary Garamond and the issue is the look of the italic in the former. What with one thing and another, it promises to be February at the earliest…

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Uncharted Waters

So now the good ship Archipelago makes headway into the blogosphere, uncharted waters for her, beyond the Seven Seas – the Eighth Sea. If water is the word, which it is not, except for the tear in my eye as I wave the shore goodbye. O terra firma! When shall we two meet again? The experience reminds me of the blackest December day there ever was in my notebook. I was out on Galway Bay aboard our mother ship the immortal Naomh Eanna in 1968. The rain fell so hard it seemed to rise back again in a stratospheric ‘double wet’ – a phenomenon described, on a smaller scale, in Katherine Rundell’s ‘Bate’s Creed’ (Arch 4). It fell and rose…

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Caught By The River

We are thrilled to welcome readers of Caught By The River to the shores of Archipelago! Caught By The River began in summer 2007 and shares much in the way of common ground, and even common contributors, with our own endeavours here at Clutag Press and more specifically with Archipelago. The site encompasses everything from bird watching and urban rambling to poetry, art, gardening and, last but by know means least, fishing. If you are not familiar with our watery friends we recommend that you check them out, starting with a review of our very own ARCHIPELAGO, Issue 5: Caught By The River – Archipelago

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