The author in 1981 (from Wikipedia)
Kenneth White is a Scottish poet who has been living in France for several decades. He also writes essays and travelogues. I discovered him thanks to his book “Letters of Gourgounel” a story that tells how he settled in a small French village. Founder of the Geopoetic movement (although this is disputed by some), it offers a different approach to poetry, reflecting an increased experience of life (I think these are his words). I have read several of his essays, which made me discover other writers, that I might have otherwise not known.
Click here to learn more about him.
I got the call from Labrador, the land that God gave Cain, as Captain Cartier called it, when I was eleven years old. It was all because of a book and the images it contained : of Indians, Eskimos, mountains, fish and white wolves howling at the moon.
So, you get images fixed in your mind when you’re eleven years old (you can think yourself lucky it was that kind of image you got), and you follow them up thirty years later, having accomplished in the meantime several more or less erratic, more or less fertile excursions into the fields of life and knowledge.
That’s how I got onto this blue road.
But what’s a “blue road” ? I hear somebody asking.
I’m not too sure about that myself. There’s the blue of the big sky, of course, there’s the blue of the ice. But all those notions, along with a few others I can think of, while they talk to my senses and my imagination, still don’t exhaust the depth of that “blue”.
So it’s something mystic then ?
I wouldn’t want to get involved in palaver about that word at this juncture (there’s something a whole lot fresher calling us out), but if I let my mind dwell for a moment on this kind of vocabulary, I recall that in some of the old traditions they talk of the itinerant mystic, and they say that if a man caught up in “Western exile” wants to find his “Orient”, he has to go through a passage North.
Maybe the blue road is that passage North, among the blues of silent Labrador.
White, Kenneth (1990). The Blue Road, Edinburgh-London: Mainstream Publishing (Preface)