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WHITE Kenneth


On the Atlantic Edge (Sandstone, 2006)

Kenneth WHITE
© Marie-Claude White

Kenneth White was born near Glasgow, but he spent his childhood and adolescence on the Ayrshire coast.
White obtained a double first in French and German from the University of Glasgow. From 1959 until 1963 White studied at the University of Paris, where he obtained a state doctorate. In 1963, White returned to the University of Glasgow, where he lectured in French literature until 1967. Then he moved to the city of Pau, near the Pyrenees, in south-west France, where he lectured in English at the University of Bordeaux. From 1983 until 1996 Kenneth White held the Chair of XXth Century Poetics at Paris-Sorbonne . In 1989, White founded the International Institute of Geopoetics to further promote research into the cross-cultural, transdisciplinary field of study which he had been developing during the previous decade.
White holds honorary doctorates from the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh and the Open University. He is an honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy, and was recently appointed as a visiting professor at Scotland’s UHI Millennium Institute. Kenneth White has been awarded some very prestigeous prizes such as: prix Médicis étranger, grand prix du Rayonnement français de l’Académie française, and prix Roger Caillois. Kenneth White lives on the north coast of Brittany with his wife Marie-Claude, who is a translator and photographer.

Bibliography :

Poetry :

  • Travels in the Drifting Dawn (Edinburgh and London, Mainstream ,1989)
  • The Blue Road (Edinburgh and London, Mainstream, 1990)
  • Pilgrim of the Void (Edinburgh and London, Mainstream, 1992)
  • House of Tides: Letters from Brittany and Other Lands of the West (Edinburgh Polygon, 2000)
  • Open Worlds : Collected Poems 1960-2000 (Edinburgh Polygon, 2003)
  • Across the Territories (Edinburgh Polygon, 2004)

Essays :

  • On Scottish Ground (Edinburgh Polygon, 1998)
  • The Wanderer and His Charts (Edinburgh Polygon, 2004)
  • On the Atlantic Edge (Sandstone, 2006)

A brief summary of Marche et paysage : Les chemins de la géopoétique :

At a time when we live at an ever faster pace, walking seems to be getting back into its own. It is an invigorating activity which frees the mind and saves the planet. Geopoetics is a concept where adepts are advised to centre their lives around one place and discover it slowly by walking around it in concentric circles. Walking is the preferred means of transportation as it helps to better understand the world we live in by exploring it little by little. It is a physical activity which contributes to a deepening of the thought process. In ancient India, it was classified as a sort of meditation process with movement. Poets, philosophers and geographers have drawn their inspiration from walking and given the readers an account of the perambulations of various walkers who are or were keen observers of their environment, such as Bashô and Kenneth White ; Custine, Chateaubriand and Senancour ; Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Robert Walser ; Wordsworth and Thoreau ; Arthur Rimbaud and André Dhôtel.
“Little by little, step by step, the walker goes from a detailed perception of the ladscape to a more abstract view. The walker experiences a cosmic contemplative state and personal identity disappears, melts into the whole. Walking opens up the mind to the universe.”
(From Kenneth White, loosely translated)