"Do you guess I have some intricate purpose?
Well I have.. for the April rain has, and the mica on the side of a rock has."
— Walt Whitman
Mica - a mineral. It glitters, like a crumb you want to pick up.
The Gates of Light is a substantial collection of poems written
since 2009 by James Aitchison, author of New Guide to Poetry
and Poetics (Rodopi Editions, 2013), The Golden Harvester: the
Vision of Edwin Muir (Aberdeen University Press, 1988) and The
Cassell Dictionary of English Grammar (Cassell, 1996), as well as
five previous poetry collections.
James Aitchison’s vigorous poetic gifts light upon trees, birds and
wild animals with strong, unsentimental feeling and a beautifully
scientific veracity; his poems pinpoint social ills, confront searing
memories, and skilfully portray the challenges of old age, giving rueful,
gracious thanks to an enduring love.
What the critics wrote:
‘At the heart of it are a sustained sense of wonder and humility in the face
of the created world, and a wary thankfulness that the powers are still there
to chart the tiny and major changes of the seasons. […] Mica Press is to be
thanked for the excellent job in putting together a collection as important
as this by one of the most enduring and significant poets.’
....Peter Carpenter, The North
‘The arrival of The Gates of Light, Aitchison’s first collection since 2009 is
a cause for celebration. […] The collection’s title The Gates of Light manages
to combine the central themes of the book perfectly: the threshold between
life and death, the material gates and the intangible light.
....Richie McCaffery, London Grip
‘He celebrates many of nature’s enduring qualities, both in the wild and in
the cultivated spaces of gardens. In several of the very fine poems in this
collection, he shifts from the human perspective to the cosmic, and shows
how entwined they are. […] James Aitchison takes concepts of apparent
simplicity, but in the expression of personal experience we find a universality
that we can relate to […] This collection was a pleasure to read. The poems
shift through seasons and the vast elements of sea, land and air, with
particular reference to the birds that move with apparent ease from one to
the other; and all of us, trees, birds, humans and planet affected by that great
star that sheds he light that permeates these poems.’
Morelle Smith, The Scottish Review
‘His perspective allows a generous encompassing vision with a sharp
awareness of the beauty and horror of the world, and a deeply moving
acceptance of the probable closeness of death’.
...Maggie Butt, Acumen
‘The poet looks back across his whole life and shares often searing
memories and observations.’
Charlotte Gann, The Frogmore Papers