“like stakeholders in the Pequod..”

Oxford based Clutag Press are taking orders for the fourth volume of Archipelago – a collection of writing of an archipelagic nature. The volume, costing £10.00, including P&P for Britain and Ireland (£15.00 elsewhere), will be launched on 26 November 2009. The Bodleian bodcasts mentioned previously can be found here – new direct link to Seamus Heaney’s contribution [10.9 Mb mp3 file]. And from editor Andrew McNeillie

It’s three years and three issues since ARCHIPELAGO’s keel was laid, her plot hatched. That our crews and their hauls have been stellar is indisputable. I wave a grateful hanky to them from the dark depths of the engine room. We’ve met much praise from reception committees ashore. Subscriptions have increased in number quite remarkably, and our catchment of postcodes is truly archipelagic, at all points of the compass. You, our subscribers, are our part-owners and agents in the venture, like stakeholders in the Pequod. Each issue is a report to you and we try to do our utmost for you out on the high seas of luck and serendipity, to please you in your passions, your islomania especially.

Issue 4 more than maintains the standard set. Among those landed this time: Norman Ackroyd (and some fourteen images, ten devoted to St Kilda), Ronald Blythe (‘Family Circles’), John Burnside (‘Amnesia’), Douglas Dunn (‘Instructions to a Saintly Poet’), Robert Macfarlane (on Eric Ravilious), Robin Robertson (a long poem on ‘Leaving St Kilda’) with much more besides, including work by new young writers on: Jura, and Cornwall; and in Gaelic (St Kildan dialect) with en face translation.

And, again, from continuing contributor to the volumes, Robert Macfarlane, as noted here.

Archipelago: (k p l g), def. 1 “Any sea or sheet of water, studded with many isles.” We live, though this is easily forgotten, on an island group of exceptional intricacy. Together, the territories conventionally called England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales comprise over 5,500 islands, studding and separating the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. And between them, the languages of this archipelago muster dozens of words for “island”, depending on size, profile, and water-context (fresh or salt; running or still; marine, estuarine or riverine). Listed, these words form a poem of paraphones: skerrie, skellig, sgeir, eyot, eilean, islet, inis, ynys, inch, isle, ailsa, ellan, oilean.