Jennifer Morag Henderson
Ceum air cheum / Step By Step 

Christopher discusses Ceum air cheum / Step By Step with Jennifer Morag Henderson in an interview for the magazine Northwords Now (2021)

Christopher Whyte’s poetry collection Ceum air Cheum / Step by Step was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year in 2019, and is currently shortlisted for the Best Poetry Book (Derick Thomson Prize) 2020 by the Gaelic Books Council. It is an audacious book in many ways, from the subject matter to the language it is written in, covering a wide-ranging variety of subjects from the politics of language and translation to suicide and child abuse. Sharp and unafraid, it contains poems about the author’s difficult life experiences, and hiswriting in Scotland and in Gaelic – including a sometimes difficult relationship with Sorley Maclean – all set within a European context. It is a collection that has taken almost 20 years to come together, a cumulative group of experiences that have been thought about for a long time.


An in-depth interview with Gavin Crawford  

Christopher talks in detail about the inspiration and the background for several of the longer poems featured in Ceum air cheum / Step By Step (published online in 2019)

(1)  “E fui calato in mezzo a quella gente” Why an Italian title for a poem written in Gaelic?
(2)  A poem about Christopher’s at times troubled relationship with Sorley MacLean aroused some controversy when it first appeared. For what reasons?
(3)  A direct address to the poet’s mother, ‘At a grave that is not there’ counts among the most eloquent and troubling poems in the whole collection.
(4)  ‘Peering into the Darkness’ battles with the tormenting issue of what actually happens to loved ones who have killed themselves.
(5)  Ceum air cheum ends with a heartfelt tribute to a woman from Skye who deeply influenced Christopher’s understanding of Gaelic tradition and Gaelic culture.


Christian Sinicco
A SEPARATE STORY: Christian Sinicco interviews Christopher Whyte

An interview with Christian Sinicco concerning Brexit the break-up of the United Kingdom, and the implications of choosing Gaelic as a language for his poetry (published in 2018 in Argo. Confini) (translated from the original Italian)

More than 25 years have passed since the Maastricht treaty and centrifugal urges are provoking a crisis in the project of a Europe with no borders, most recently given clamorous expression by Brexit. In your opinion, what has failed to work  with European integration?


An interview with Niall O'Gallagher for Steall magazine
An interview with Niall O’Gallagher for Steall magazine

In an interview with Niall O’Gallagher for Steall magazine marking the 25th anniversary of the 1991 publication of Uirsgeul/Myth, Christopher discusses that book, the background to his poetry, and his debt to Derick Thomson (English version of the Gaelic original) (2016)

NO’G We learn from the book itself that the poems in Uirsgeul / Myth were written in the course of only 2 years, in Edinburgh and in Italy. Could you tell me something about that period?

CMacIB I came back from Italy, where I had spent 10 years, in 1985. After a year working on my Ph.D. in Glasgow, I started teaching in the Department of English Literature in the University of Edinburgh. I wrote the first poems in the book, the sequence ‘The Scholar Looks Back’, in spring 1987. My Italian partner, Giuseppe, was staying with me at the time. The weather was exceptionally warm and sunny and we explored Edinburgh together, taking long walks in each area of the city. One afternoon we attended a concert at the Danish Institute. A string quartet was playing the music of Carl Nielsen. 


A conversation with Ian MacDonald
A conversation with Ian MacDonald

A conversation with Ian MacDonald about the poetics and politics of Sorley MacLean and the experience of editing his work (published as part of the proceedings of the 2011 Ainmeil Thar Cheudan conference at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Skye)

Christopher Whyte’s contribution to the 2011 conference corresponded very closely with his introductory essay in the book An Cuilithionn 1939 and Unpublished Poems, which was launched as part of the conference.  He preferred to make his contribution to this book via an interview, and an edited transcript of a conversation with Ian MacDonald follows.


‘A novel can start with a powerful image, or a situation, or the relationship between two people, a poem with a tone, an angulation or intonation of the voice’

© 2021 Christopher Whyte. All Rights Reserved | Designed by Jarka Jones

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