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"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

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image of cover of The Gates of Light semi-abstract

photo of James Aitchison

The Gates of Light. James Aitchison Paperback ISBN 978-1-869848-07-1, £8.00. 21 March 2016.



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