Jersey Scillies St Mary Tenby

The Poets | The Islands | The Tour Poets | Back

In 100 Island Poems of Great Britain and Ireland IRONpress has brought together some of the finest modern poets in the first anthology to celebrate in verse the highly contrasting islands that lie off our shores.

IRON Press has initiated this tour of poetry readings made by some of the poets, to draw attention to the special qualities of these islands. The editor of the book, James Knox Whittet hopes that, within the books pages, the islands are given a voice. The readings provide another opportunity for people to listen to those voices.

100 Island Poems of Great Britain and Ireland is published by IRON Press.
Price £9.00. ISBN 0-906228-97-2. Books can be purchased from IRON Press on 0191 2531901


W.B. Yeats said of the Irish dramatist, John Millington Synge who lived for years on the Aran Islands:

He was a drifting man full of hidden passions who loved wild islands, because there, set out in the clear light of day, he saw what lay hidden in himself.

In this anthology, I have brought together poems, by famous and by lesser-known poets, which embody a piercing clarity of vision under the luminous skies of our beautiful islands. In reading and hearing at least some of these poems, I hope that readers and listeners will discover something of what lies hidden in themselves.

It seems to me, as someone who grew up in Islay, that our islands are too often regarded as peripheral to the ‘real’ world and yet each small island is a microcosm of that ‘real’ world and a place where living and dying are brought into sharper focus. An island is not a place of escape but, at best, a place where one can enter more deeply into oneself. Perhaps it is this aspect of island being which has drawn so many monks, hermits, contemplatives, mystics and poets to the wind-lashed islands all around our coast for so many centuries.

The aim of this reading tour to six of our islands is to bring the voices of some of our finest poets to the ears of islanders who, for once, need not leave their island to hear them. Here the voices of poets will merge with the echoes of the islands they love.

James Knox Whittet