Norrie Bissell

Living on an Island: An approach to geopoetics

bisselln01pic1.jpg Two days spent on Luing by members of the Scottish geopoetics group provided the inspiration for a whole issue of Island magazine. Editor Julie Johnstone invited submissions in the form of poetry, images and reflections and was richly rewarded by material from fifteen hands, including a preface from Kenneth White, progenitor of the geopoetics movement. He responds to his own question, ‘What is it about islands?’ with a series of observations on the significance for people of distance, of silence, of the sense of an island as both an open system and as an area of land, ‘comprehensible’ – defined by the circumscription of the sea. Never a man to take the straight route or the road more travelled, in the span of a few pages White conjures a spare archipelago of thoughts that carry the mendicant philosophical spirit that typifies his approach.

Here we present a recording of a talk by Norrie Bissell about Luing, describing its natural history, geology and character and tracing some ‘geopoetical’ paths.


Visit the website of Essence Press, publisher of Island magazine, at

About the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics: /SCfGdirectorsreportOct04.pdf

Speech and first photograph © Norrie Bissell 2006; second and third photographs © Roger Bygott