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A Commentary

by Iain Crichton Smith, with readings by Sorley MacLean

Published in: Audio CD.
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Glasgow, October 2007.
Price: £9.95
ISBN 978-0-948877-81-0

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Sorley MacLean is the greatest Gaelic poet of the twentieth century. Taking a contemporary voice, breaking away from the nostalgia of earlier Gaelic works, and injecting a powerful intellectual force, he marked a new beginning for Gaelic poetry and changed the course of Gaelic literature.

These recordings of Sorley MacLean reading his poems, with commentary by that other great poet, Iain Crichton Smith, cover major themes of MacLean’s work: ‘Calvary’ and ‘Highland Woman’, for example, deal with social, political and religious issues; ‘Death Valley’ is one of the finest poems of the Second World War in any language; and ‘Hallaig’, a haunting exploration of the diminishing Gaelic culture of the past and the problems of its revival in a modern age.

MacLean’s sonorous readings draw out the power of his poetry. His fellow-poet Iain Crichton Smith provides informed and insightful commentary into every poem, making this CD an excellent tool for study, as well as giving users a chance to hear one of Britain’s greatest modern poets reading his own work.


  1. ‘The Choice’
  2. ‘The Cry of Europe’
  3. ‘Humility’
  4. ‘Reason and Love’
  5. ‘MacIntyre and Ross’
  6. ‘The Haunting’
  7. ‘Calvary’ / ‘The Turmoil’
  8. ‘Highland Woman’
  9. ‘Under Sail’
  10. ‘The Woods Of Raasay’
  11. ‘Death Valley’
  12. ‘Elegy For Calum MacLean’
  13. ‘Dogs and Wolves’
  14. ‘Hallaig’


Also available:

The Poetry of Sorley MacLean
by Emma Dymock
A study guide to Sorley MacLean’s poetry, for students at all levels.

Pbk: £5.95

An Cuilithionn 1939 / The Cuillin 1939
and Unpublished Poems

by Somhairle MacGill-Eain / Sorley MacLean;
ed. Christopher Whyte

A new edition of Sorley MacLean’s hugely powerful Gaelic political poem, with facing English translation. Also includes forty-five other previously unpublished works by MacLean.

Pbk: £12.50


Last updated 30 May 2011 2010.