n this new Selected Poems, Kathleen Jamie explores the multi-faceted world of George Mackay Brown’s Orkney, the poet’s lifelong home and inspiration. George Mackay Brown’s concerns were the ancestral world, the communalities of work, the fables and religious stories which he saw as underpinning mortal lives. Brown believed from the outset that poets had a social role and his true task was to fulfil that role. This is not the attitude of a shrinking violet, tentatively exploring his ‘voice’. Art was sprung from the community, and his role as poet to know that community, to sing its stories. But there was also room for introspection; the poet’s task was simultaneously to 'interrogate silence'.