Sunday book review – Cairn by Kathleen Jamie


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


4 Replies to “Sunday book review – Cairn by Kathleen Jamie”

  1. Kathleen Jamie is a wonderful writer that perfectly evokes the natural environment. Her descriptions of visits to St Kilda and North Rona are especial favourites of mine. Seek out her other books.

  2. She is a wonderfully evocative nature writer. I especially like her pieces on St Kilda and North Rona. I recommend you seek out her other books.

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