Sunday book review – Cairn by Kathleen Jamie – Mark Avery


Kathleen Jamie is Scotland’s National Poet or Makar, and this book is a collection of personal notes, prose poems, micro-essays and fragments. The idea is that they are arranged here like the stones of a cairn.  I was slightly nervous that this might be too ‘literary’ for me – but it wasn’t. Here are some powerful, clear and perceptive accounts, remembrances and observations with a strong environmental flavour.

Accounts of demonstrations and protests attended, bird flu on the Bass Rock, a Raven that croaks at you, a yellow hawkbit, thrift and guano. Bits of covid, family, friends.

A small book that packs a big impact, but which is easily slipped into a coat pocket, or small rucksack or handbag. It makes a good companion on a train journey, or when waking in a bed away from home.

I will seek out more from the author.

The cover? It’s difficult to know what is an appropriate cover for a book of varied poetry and short essays. Difficult, but I think this one gets it perfectly right so I’d give it 9/10.

Cairn by Kathleen Jamie is published by Sort of Books


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