White, Kenneth (2015) Guido's Map: A European Pilgrimage, Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, pp.154 + xii. ISBN: 978-1-85752-011-8
Kenneth White has been living and working in France since 1968. The founder of the International Institute of Geopoetics and, from 1983 to 1996, Professor of Modern Poetry at the Sorbonne, his poetry, essays and travel writings, published in both French and English, and translated into a wide range of other languages, have won many distinguished prizes.
It’s a strange map of Europe that Kenneth White presents in Guido’s Map. In an apparently haphazard way, he moves over spaces and among places, ranging from Ireland to the Balkans via Spain, from Glasgow to Trieste via Bilbao. History, past and present, breaks into the geography, figures such as Joyce, Rimbaud, Rilke appear more or less furtively on the scene here and there. What finally emerges is not only a spectral analysis of a complex area called Europe but the lineaments of a whole continent of the mind, alive with existential energy and intellectual electricity.
Hailed by many as Scotland’s most important poet-thinker since Hugh MacDiarmid, and as one of the most significant writers working anywhere today, Kenneth White’s work co-ordinates the intensity of immediate responsiveness to the natural world with a perspective on universal history which mounts a powerful challenge to the values of modernity.