George Mackay Brown died at the age of 74 in the 1990s. He lived very nearly all of his life on the Orkney Islands, where he was born, and most of his poetry is a kind of dialogue between poet and place, with the past as real a presence as the present. He wanted no more than to be in the place where he was born and to commune with its physical reality, its light, its sunsets, its storms, its people, their customs, its folk lore and its history. He had a spell down in Edinburgh and one visit, I think, to London, but he was not adventurous in any sense that most people would recognise. His adventures were of the imagination and the spirit and their medium of exression were prose and poetry. His novels and short stories, his column for 'The Orcadian' and above all his poetry stand as his memorial ; and we learn from Maggie Fergusson's recent biography that his poetry was ranked most highly by Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and others. It is unique and life-enhancing, this poetry of the Islands, and it is wonderful to have it in one well-presented volume as here. It is very easy to represent his work as insular - by definition, that is indeed what most of it was. But I would suggest that every human feeling and longing is here, and the beauty of the imagery, the old stories, the patterns of verse, the varied repetitions, the warmth and coldness, involvement and detachment of the lines embody human life and relationships between man and man and man and his surroundings as truly as any body of modern poetry can be said to do. This is a wonderful book offering a lifetime's observation and wisdom in memorable forms and language, and it will give pleasure to readers for many lifetimes to come.