Although it is widely regarded as his finest work, Sorley MacLean’s sequence of love lyrics, Dain do Eimhir (Poems to Eimhir), was only published in part during his lifetime. Drawing on manuscript and published sources, this reissue of the acclaimed Association for Scottish Literary Studies 2002 edition brings together all but one of the poems. English translations throughout, an authoritative introduction and an extensive commentary detailing cultural, historical and political references make this major masterpiece of twentieth-century Gaelic poetry fully accessible to the general public.
Sorley MacLean was born on the island of Raasay in 1911. He was brought up within a family and community immersed in Gaelic language and culture, particularly song. He studied English at Edinburgh University from 1929, taking a first-class honours degree. Despite this influence, he eventually adopted Gaelic as the medium most appropriate for his poetry. He translated much of his own work into English, opening it up to a wider public. He fought in North Africa during World War II, before taking up a career in teaching, holding posts on Mull, in Edinburgh and finally as Head Teacher at Plockton High School. Amongst other awards and honours, he received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1990. He died in 1996 at the age of 85.