Poetry by Henry Marsh – The Guidman’s Daughter



The Guidman’s Daughter
95 page hardback
Maclean Dubois 2009. Distributed by Birlinn Ltd.
ISBN 9-780951-447062

‘Henry Marsh is one of the finest poets writing in Scotland today. His delicate, beautifully expressed verse has already achieved critical and popular acclaim. Whatever the topic of the poem, the voice is consistently wise, and gentle too; the effect is both subtle and moving.

The title of the collection refers to a cycle of poems concerned with Mary, Queen of Scots. It is impossible not to be intrigued by the life of this tragic figure, and the poets observations, so skilfully wrought, only add to the poignancy of her ill-fated tale.’
Alexander McCall Smith

From reviews of The Guidman’s Daughter:

‘The title sequence in The Guidman’s Daughter is a work of really impressive depth, compression, and power.’
Professor Edward Mendelson, Columbia University

‘The book has touches of real brilliance…stamped with Marsh’s knack for seeking out beauty of universal importance within the smallest of nature’s offerings…The cycle of poems about the Queen (Mary, Queen of Scots) is Marsh’s tour de force… at the end of this volume all Scotland glitters under (his) touch.’
Charlotte Runcie, The Scotsman

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Cover drawing by Kym Needle

Read poems and listen to readings from The Guidman’s Daughter in the poems section

Available directly from Birlinn Ltd for £10 including delivery. Birlinn page


Inside History: John Knox and Mary, Queen of Scots

24th November 2011, Scottish Storytelling Centre, John Knox House, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR. A one-off music and poetry event in the unique setting of the John Knox House as part of Scotland’s first history festival, Previously.

‘I remember standing on the remains of Fotheringhay Castle and suddenly being filled with great indignation – how dare they. Mary, Queen of Scots had been imprisoned in England for eighteen years before her execution in February 1587. At the age of 19, already the Dowager Queen of France, a Roman Catholic, she had returned to Scotland and stepped into the maelstrom of the Reformation. Her life was set on tragedy. After finishing a sequence of Mary poems, I was in St Giles and happened across the statue of John Knox. I was intrigued by the paradox – Knox had become a ‘graven image’ in the Kirk where he had preached so vehemently against idolatry.’

‘It has been a great joy, and a sort of privilege, to explore these extraordinary moments in Scottish history. When all is said and done, the protagonists were locked in a passionate debate about values that mirror, to some extent, the profound ideological conflicts of our own times.’

Henry Marsh, who read poems on Knox and Mary Queen of Scots from the collections Guidman’s Daughter (2009) and The Hammer and the Fire (2011).

© Henry Marsh 2008-2012

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