The Gaelic Garden of the Dead
"You are holding in your hands a spell of sibylline leaves." — Ishion Hutchinson
"‘Violent and formal’ - the phrase is John Berryman’s - in a language both lupercal and arboreal, MacGillivray’s THE GAELIC GARDEN OF THE DEAD is magnificent. It is neither violent or formal for its own sake, but rebels against complacent, lyrical histories in voices compressed to a haunting and haunted diamond precision. What vivid strangeness, for instance, to hear again the unsung recusant poet, Mary Queen of Scots, in our secular millennium? The chromatic lines balance splendidly on the razor-edge between imaginary and real time, making her a high modernist in the tradition of her great voice-walkers and forebears Burns, Scott, and MacDiarmid.You are holding in your hands a spell of sibylline leaves."
- Ishion Hutchinson