Writing

Heartbeat

Sarah Neely on Margaret Tait

Stalking the Image: Margaret Tait and intimate filmmaking practices

I used to lie in wait to see the clover open
Or close,
But never saw it.
I was too impatient,
Or the movement is too subtle,
Imperceptible
And more than momentary.

Margaret Tait, ‘Now’, origins and elements (Edinburgh: Margaret Tait, 1959), pp. 22-24.

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Peter Todd on Margaret Tait

Margaret Tait was born on Orkney on Armistice Day, 1918 and died on Orkney in 1999.

She attended boarding school in Edinburgh, from age 8 to 16, followed by medical studies at the University. During the Second World War, she served at home and abroad in the Far East with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Post-war visits to France and Italy culminated in full-time study at the Centro Sperimentale film school in Rome. In the late 1940s, she worked in hospitals and undertook locum work at various places around the UK. Based mainly in Edinburgh from the early 1950’s, she moved to East Sutherland in the mid 1960s. A few years later she settled back on Orkney. Her first film was made in 1951, and her last completed in 1998. Her one feature film, Blue Black Permanent, was made in 1992. She also published three books of poetry and two of short stories (one for children) in the space of two years between 1959 and 1960.

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Ali Smith on Margaret Tait

Margaret Tait. Sweet old Scottish lady who made quaint little films all her life which are interesting to look at now because – look! that’s Princes St, Edinburgh! in the 1950s!, and that’s Rose St! it hasn’t changed! and isn’t it good to have archive film of a rural life that’s disappearing, that’s almost totally disappeared now, in her films about Orkney, and it’s so nice that she made little books of her poetry and stories and published them herself, she was such a creative soul, how sweet and interesting.

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