Living on an Island: An approach to geopoetics

Norrie Bissell

Two days spent on Luing by members of the Scottish geopoetics group provided the inspiration for a whole issue of Island magazine. Editor Julie Johnstone invited submissions in the form of poetry, images and reflections and was richly rewarded by material from fifteen hands, including a preface from Kenneth White, progenitor of the geopoetics movement. He responds to his own question, ‘What is it about islands?’ with a series of observations on the significance for people of distance, of silence, of the sense of an island as both an open system and as an area of land, ‘comprehensible’ – defined by the circumscription of the sea. Never a man to take the straight route or the road more travelled, in the span of a few pages White conjures a spare archipelago of thoughts that carry the mendicant philosophical spirit that typifies his approach.

Here we present a recording of a talk by Norrie Bissell about Luing, describing its natural history, geology and character and tracing some ‘geopoetical’ paths.