Friday, June 01, 2007

Peter Robertson Interview

I thought this interview with Peter Robertson was very interesting, from online publication Ready Steady Book.

“But no, I don’t think that calling someone a “Scottish writer” is per se to ghettoize them, as you put it… It is a truism that the cultural values one inherits permeate one’s work and even give rise to it. Naturally, I am against flag-waving in literature as I am any kind of overt political agenda, something that vitiates much Latin American literature. Nor am I ever going to defend parochialism. In fact, I would contend that the best literature is a conflation of the local and the universal—one at no time negates the other. But it is a delusion to believe that you leave your culture behind, even in cases where you might try to renounce it, and you are in fact indelibly shaped by it. As I said, I live in several countries and, every time I travel, I am conscious of entering a different reality. Humanity is not a lumpen, homogeneous mass.”

Robertson has grouped together twelve of Scotland’s leading writers (including several poets, such as W.N. Herbert and Robert Crawford) under a Viva Caledonia! banner in an online magazine I hadn’t previously heard of, the Mad Hatters’ Review (the link to Viva Caledonia! is at the bottom left-hand corner of the zine). Robertson is the UK, Spain and Argentina editor.

He also plans to start a new Scottish literary journal this winter coming, and the Mad Hatters’ Review will feature an Eclectic England section in the next two issues, again featuring poetry e.g. Patience Agabi, Simon Armitage, Mimi Khalvati, George Szirtes etc.

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