We are absolutely chuffed to announce that we have been awarded a Scots Language Publication Grant by the Scottish Book Trust to produce our upcoming book Hard Roads an Cauld Hairst Winds: Li Bai an Du Fu in Scots by Brian Holton – read more here. This fantastic news means that we will be able to push ahead with our plans to produce a stunning hardback including extra calligraphy by Chinese artist Chi Zhang – there is no doubt now that the book will be a real collector’s item, worthy of any bookshelf.
The book is to be published in October 2021, but in the meantime you can place a pre-order directly through website here. As a wee teaser, how about reading what Kathleen Jamie and Bill Herbert both have to say about the book?
‘What a wonderful book this is. Brian Holton is the living master of literary Scots, and though 1300 years separate their times from ours, Holton’s translations of Li Bai and Du Fu speak to our own age. They are perennial poems of love and war and exile, youth and age, by turns wistful, moving, vivacious and sad. Brian Holton’s Scots is playful and unforced. Translating directly from the Chinese, he demonstrates the vigour and subtlety of which Scots is capable, relishing a language as well-resourced and malleable as any other. These are beautiful lyric poems.’ Kathleen Jamie
‘It is a singular stroke of imaginative genius to translate the poems of Du Fu and Li Bai into Scots, one which, perhaps, only Brian Holton is capable of. His longtime familiarity with and comprehensive knowledge of these ancient yet still-intimate texts, together with his deep knowledge of the border ballad tradition and its foundational role in Scottish literature, has created a curious and compelling hybrid realm, in which the reader’s imagination dwells as vividly as in a work of historical fiction, Ossianic forgery, or compelling fantasy. It is a realm which seems real to us because our desire for it to be so has been kindled so thoroughly in these translations almost without our knowing.
Scots seems particularly suited to this endeavour not just because of its pioneering role in the genres of imaginative recovery or speculative fiction, or because of that compelling and cognate folk heritage. It is because its own continually-interrupted genealogy as a language and tradition knits with its proximity to a globally dominant language in such a way as to create the note of nearness-in-distance required here, a nexus of estranged lustiness, august longing, and heart-shattering lyric regret. This, recalling the lacrimae rerum of the Western Classical tradition in tones that echo Gavin Douglas’s Eneados, perfectly characterises these great poets.’ Bill Herbert
Excited? Us too. Here’s to another Taproot hardback!