About the Book
Henry Marsh is one of the finest poets writing in Scotland today. His delicate, beautifully expressed verse has already achieved critical and popular acclaim; now, in this collection, he returns with a wonderfully fresh new offering. Familiar themes are well-represented – the shores and hills of the Hebrides and the Western Highlands, the changing elements of the Scottish landscape, the meeting of land and water – but alongside this the poet leads us quietly and courteously into a personal territory of friendship, love, reflection. Whatever the topic of the poem, the voice is consistently wise, and gentle too; the effect is both subtle and moving. In reading these beautiful lines we realise that we are in the presence of an urbane and sympathetic companion.
The title of the collection, The Guidman’s Daughter, refers to a special cycle of poems at the end of the book, concerned with Mary, Queen of Scots, the daughter of James V (the Guidman o’Ballengeich, as he was known). It is impossible not to be intrigued by the life of this tragic figure, and the poet’s observations, so skilfully wrought, only add to the poignancy of her ill-fated tale.