Dé hAoine, Iúil 13, 2007

Léirmheas ar "Dreuchd an Fhigheadair/The Weaver’s Task: a Gaelic Sampler"

Bhí Crìsdean ar an gCuairt faoi thrí thar na blianta; b'í Cuairt 2005 an uair deireanach. : : drb.ie – dublin review of books : :: "Brave New Words
Peter Mackay: Scottish Gaelic Poetry
Dreuchd an Fhigheadair/The Weaver’s Task: a Gaelic Sampler, edited and introduced by Crìsdean MhicGhillebhàin/Christopher Whyte, Scottish Poetry Library, 64 pp, £5.00, ISBN: 978-0953223589

out here in front of a tiny audience
of halfhearted seals applauding

It is almost obligatory when talking about Scots Gaelic to begin with a number. In 2001 it was 58,652. Writing ten years ago, you would have got to bandy about a bigger figure – 65,978; in 1911, the heady – and bafflingly precise – heights of 202,398. These are, of course, the numbers of speakers of Scots Gaelic, according to the relevant census figures. Given this starting point, the number of readers of Gaelic poetry is not exactly gargantuan. When challenged, Sorley MacLean – the greatest Scots Gaelic poet of the twentieth century – denied that the number of people who could read his poetry in the original was less than forty; however he did grudgingly admit that his readership was “limited”. And one of the dangers of having such a “limited” audience is that, like the halfhearted seals in Robert Crawford’s translation of a poem by Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh, they will applaud almost anything. "

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