François Matarasso on Orcadian culture: “the unique creation of interaction between people and place, coming and going, over centuries”.
François Matarasso reads a presentation that he originally gave as a lecture in Kirkwall, in Orkney, on 27 September 2014.
He begins by considering the poet Robert Rendall, who “was, like many Orcadians, something of a polymath, publishing on literature, natural history, archaeology and theology as well as being a painter, a fisherman and a successful businessman. Shore Poems was Rendall’s third collection and though Edinburgh and London critics may have neglected it, the book was appreciated in Orkney, where the author was held in high regard”.
The specificity of the poems – the “particularly Orcadian balancing of here and there” – leads to a discussion of wider aspects of Orcadian culture and the implications of Dunbar’s number in this context.
Echoing Wendell Berry, François notes that “Everywhere is not the same and the people who live there are not the same either. The culture of Orkney is the unique creation of interaction between people and place, coming and going, over centuries”.
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