Into the Forest will be published by Saraband in November (just in time for Christmas!) and it is going to be a thing of beauty. The cover and internal images are gorgeous, the design of the book is lovely, and of course the poems themselves are a forest of wonder.
There are more than 150 poets featured, ranging from nobel laureates like Seamus Heaney and Gabriella Mistral, to people you will never have heard of because they haven't been in print before. The anthology is structured into chapters following the species of the Gaelic tree alphabet but the selection of poems is ecologically liberal, including many close relatives of our native species living all over the world - from California to China, Norway to Norfolk.
I won't begin to try to explain how much more work is involved in the editing of such a collection than I expected. I'm just pleased that it has come together and been so creatively produced by Saraband.
The book is in aid of Trees for Life, and I'm giving my royalties to them to support regeneration of native woodlands in Scotland.
Into the Forest is dedicated to Gavin Wallace, whose tragic death earlier this year saddened everyone who knew him. I guess there must be hundreds of others just as grateful as I was for the recognition he gave to our efforts and for the practical help he gave with Arts Council grants to individuals and to organisations. He was so modest about it all - a delightful man. I met him in the flesh first at the Ullapool Book Festival, after I'd received a Scottish Arts Council writer's bursary, and when I thanked him he gave a little smile and said something brief and nice and then turned the subject to the blossoms dressing the trees all the way up Market Street in the way they always do in Ullapool in May. I am sure he would have loved this book.