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Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides [Paperback]

Kevin MacNeil
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.71 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 May 1999
This collection marks the arrival of a major new talent in Scottish poetry. Kevin MacNeil's voice and vision, while rooted in the Hebridean islands, is open to a wide range of cultures, not only those of Scotland - from Gaeldom to urban Scotland - but to the wider European and American mind and, through his interest in Zen Buddhism, to Japanese and Chinese culture. With astonishing freshness and versatility, MacNeil's poetry creates powerful connections and new combinations -he has wit as well as feeling, a powerful sense of the past and the local while being resolutely turned towards the future and the cross-cultural.

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Frequently Bought Together

Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides + The Stornoway Way + The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy
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Product details

  • Paperback: 84 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd (1 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862418127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862418120
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 633,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

KEVIN MacNEIL was born and raised on the Isle of Lewis and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. As poet, novelist, aphorist, lyricist, screenwriter and playwright, his books include A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde (Polygon), The Stornoway Way (Penguin), Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides (Canongate), Be Wise Be Otherwise (Canongate). Kevin's plays include Sweetness (adapted from Torgny Lindgren's novel) and The Callanish Stoned. His short stories have been published extensively. Kevin's first book won the Tivoli Europa Giovani International Poetry Prize for best poetry collection published in Europe by a writer under 35. The Stornoway Way was a bestseller and is currently being optioned for a film. MacNeil was the inaugural Iain Crichton Smith Bilingual Writing Fellow and has held further prestigious writing residencies in Sweden (Uppsala University), Bavaria (Villa Concordia) and a number of other places, including lecturing on the Creative Writing MSc at Edinburgh University. He often collaborates with visual artists and musicians. The William Campbell and Kevin MacNeil single Local Man Ruins Everything (Fantastic Plastic) was Single of the Week in The Guardian, in The List and on Steve Lamacq's radio show. In September 2009 MacNeil cycled 1300km of the Danube, from source to Budapest, on a single-speed fixed-gear track bike, for two cancer charities; the BBC filmed a documentary about him and his bike ride which took just a dozen cycling days. 2011 sees the release of an album and 'These Islands, We Sing: An Anthology of Scottish Islands Poetry' (Polygon, July 2011). Kevin lives in London.

Product Description

Review

* Not only talented and dedicated, he is also original ... finding and making a literature in the clash and intersection of languages and cultures -- Andrew Greig * If you fancy a mixture of dancing logic, loving grace and cosmopoetic jazz, with a lot of Hebridean hootchie-kootchie, including Harris rain coming down in haikus and a skinkling of protogaelic Lewisian gneiss, not forgetting the ever-loving old calidoneein antisysithing, this guy's got it. -- Kenneth White * To meet one so in tune with his languages and with his subject-matter, so young, is a rare and special experience. At the beginning of his poetic career, Kevin MacNeil is already in the uplands of achievement. -- Aonghas MacNeacail

About the Author

Kevin MacNeil/Caoimhin MacNèill was born on the Outer Hebridean island of Lewis (Scotland) and is a widely published writer of poetry, prose and drama (English and Gaelic). He was educated at the Nicolson Institute, University of Edinburgh and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. He is the first person from this country to win the prestigious Tivoli Europa Giovani International Poetry Prize and is currently living on the Isle of Skye, where he is employed as the inaugural Iain Crichton Smith Writing Fellow (writer in residence for the Highlands area of Scotland). MacNeil has extensive experience in leading writing workshops and has read his work at a great many venues in a number of countries. He is a founding member of the trip-hop poetry band Tomorrowscope. His work has been translated into 10 languages. MacNeil is currently completing a novel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars influential and brilliant - a gift 18 Nov 2004
Format:Paperback
This is my favourite poetry collection ever. I have given it as a present to loads of people who normally wouldn't go near poetry...and they all loved it! For the most part the writing is imaginative but accessible, deep but clear. There are some amazing haiku and some heartfelt love poems, among the best I have EVER read. As well as being moving (at times wrenching), the writing is sometimes very funny. The style varies from what Kenneth White on the back of the book calls "cosmopoetic jazz" (I think that means snappy, melodious, zen-inspired prose-poems) to Gaelic evocations of loss and longing (NB the Gaelic poems are translated into English). This is probably the best Scottish debut poetry collection of recent years. I get it for friends when I can - it keeps going out of print - and I recommend it VERY highly. Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides has gone on to inspire a whole new generation of Scottish poets.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Debut by a Unique Hebridean Talent 23 Mar 2010
By HeavyMetalMonty VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Kevin MacNeil's poetry in Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides has both the freshness of youth and the wisdom of experience. As is the case with most who have grown up on the Isle of Lewis, MacNeil is profoundly inspired by the elements, especially the sea, the roaring Minch, which for Hebrideans is both a constant presence in - and influence on - their lives. This relationship with nature is omnipresent in MacNeil's writing, as it is in the poetry of Skye's Aonghas MacNeacail. MacNeil has obviously digested the writing of Aonghas MacNeacail and Sorley MacLean, but his work is not derivative; rather, his is a fresh voice, often a more playful voice, and one that fearlessly channels joy, pain and longing into beautifully descriptive language.

As a debut anthology, this is a staggering achievement. That MacNeil is a fearless and wildly talented writer is unquestionable. The anthology could equally have been called 'Love and Longing in the Outer Hebrides', as the poetry's subject matter seems more focused on longing than being (Zen involves accepting what is rather than longing for what is not). Putting the subject matter to one side, the style of MacNeil's poetry is pure Zen: minimalist, profound, philosophical and poignant. Kevin MacNeil at his most eloquently descriptive is a joy to read. If you want a book of unique poetry by a writer unafraid to feel with his own heart, think with his own mind and speak with his own voice, buy this. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides 20 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback
An enchanting collection of verse and prose. Kevin MacNeil has caught both the flavour and atmosphere of this unique part of Britain, with exceptional insight of the almost 'fey' quality of life, I too have encountered among some of the island inhabitants. This is a book worthy of a lifetime's keeping.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good debut by an incisive Hebridean talent. 23 Mar 2010
By HeavyMetalMonty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Kevin MacNeil's poetry in 'Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides' has both the freshness of youth and the wisdom of experience. As is the case with most who grow up in Lewis, MacNeil is profoundly affected by the elements, especially the sea, the roaring Minch, which for Hebrideans is both a constant presence in and influence on their lives. This relationship with nature is omnipresent in MacNeil's writing, as it is in the poetry of Skye's Aonghas MacNeacail. MacNeil has obviously digested the writing of Aonghas MacNeacail and Sorley MacLean, but his work is not derivative; rather, his is a fresh voice, often a more playful voice, a voice that fearlessly channels joy, pain and longing into beautifully descriptive language.
As a debut anthology, this is a staggering achievement. That MacNeil is a fearless writer is unquestionable. There's a little too much longing, however, and not enough simply being for this to be a pure example of Zen writing. Perhaps if the anthology had been titled 'Love and Longing in the Outer Hebrides' I'd have awarded it the full five stars. Longing, after all, is a feeling which has spawned poetic flourishes since the dawn of literature, but a feeling that is not part of the Zen way. Zen is about accepting and fully experiencing what is, not longing for what is not. That point aside, Kevin MacNeil at his most eloquently descriptive is a joy to read. If you want a book of truly unique poetry by a talent unafraid to feel with his own heart, think with his own mind, and speak with his own voice, then buy this. If you want a book that encapsulates Zen, buy 'Zen Flesh, Zen Bones'.
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