|Maoilios Caimbeul (Myles Campbell) and Mandy Haggith after a|
spellbinding feast of tree poems in English and Gaelic.
The Reading Room presented environmental activist writer/poet, Mandy Haggith, in a late winter meeting on Skye, at the Skeabost Country Hotel on Loch Snizort Beag (incidentally a lovely historical stop for afternoon tea or dinner--see photos on my previous posts).
Haggith introduced Into the Forest: An Anthology of Tree Poems, a book which she edited while working on her project, A-B-Tree, celebrating the link between trees and writing. Certain trees or shrubs are associated with every letter of the Gaelic alphabet and I'm not sure if anyone else could make it as interesting as Mandy does. Her extensive education, novels and books, and life path through collaborations and activism give her an assured demeanor and guaranteed an intriguing exchange of information of that winter's eve.
The writer lives on a Lake Roe croft in Assynt, Scotland. She says, 'When I say I live in the most beautiful place in the world, most people nod. On Skye, they all say, "Yeah!"'
Her favorite tree is the Rowan, which is associated with the second letter in old Gaelic, Luis, from the Norse 'raun', meaning 'charm' or 'spell'. 'The Vikings thought the first woman came from the Rowan, the man from the Ash,' explains Mandy. She has so many curious, silly, intriguing and delicious tidbits about trees and things, you must check her out.
The selection of poems, chosen from works by poets of various nationalities, was made even more memorable by the participation of Maoilios Caimbeul, who followed some of Mandy's English versions with readings in Gaelic.
Mandy Haggith is full of stories, anecdotes and hilarious quips and if you like trees, or bears, or anything in the natural world, I recommend that you search out this fascinating lady. Her blog is at www.cybercrofter.blogspot.co.uk or search just by name. She's out there, in more ways than one!