Back in March 2022 I was invited to talk with Helen Needham of BBC Radio Scotland about place, about time, and my approach to the landscape. We took a walk up an often over-looked hill in Aberdeenshire that has been the focus and the start-point of my writing about landscape and how it shapes us. In this episode you can join us as we explore the hill and its histories, and listen to the conversation that resulted.
Happy to have work back in Southlight magazine having contributed to two previous issues. There will be a live reading event at The Yellow Door Gallery in Dumfries on June 11th at 6.00pm with actual people! Sadly I won’t be able to make it, but I hope anyone in the Dumfries area will call in and listen to the work of the other contributors present; and please do pick up a copy, either on the day or through Southlight’s own website. The issue is full of great writing by some well-known Scottish writers including the prolific Margaret Elphinstone and writer and poet Hugh McMillan along with many others, and a forward by editor Vivien Jones. My own contribution is an essay with accompanying images which continues an exploration of Lewis stemming from my residency with Island Darkroom in February and first appeared in abridged form in Elsewhere: A Journal of Place.
I’m looking forward to taking part in this symposium on the 04th May at the University of Aberdeen:
Deep Wheel Aberdonia is an event celebrating writing from and about Scottish islands with special guest Harry Josephine Giles, author of recently published verse novel Deep Wheel Orcadia, in which Orkney and its language are taken on a strange science-fiction journey, carving out a radical new space for Scottish writing.
The event will be chaired by Centre co-director Professor David Wheatley and also feature Orcadian poet Ingrid Leonard, who will read from her recently-published pamphlet Rammo in Stenness(Abersee Press). I will be sharing work stemming from my residency at Island Darkroom which explores how Lewis has helped to shape the work of poets Donald MacAulay, Iain Crichton Smith and Derick Thomson.
I would never consider myself a serious poet, but I do like to dabble now and then, and I am very happy to have my short poem ‘Planets’ included in Poetry Scotland Issue 103.
The magazine has a long and distinguished history, summed up here from the Poetry Scotland website:
“Poetry Scotland began in the 1940s when Maurice Lindsay started publishing books and anthologies of new poetry under this title. There were three issues of Poetry Scotland and a series of slim hardback books by poets of the day, including Hugh MacDiarmid. Then there followed a hiatus until 1997 when, with Maurice Lindsay’s support, Sally Evans and Ian King of Diehard Press began to publish Poetry Scotland as a broadsheet, aiming from the first to be inclusive, encouraging women, minority languages and people from country airts.”
Now under the editorship of Andy Jackson and Judy Taylor, it publishes poems from across the UK, twice-yearly in the A4 broadsheet format of its previous incarnation. You can subscribe and purchase individual issues on the Poetry Scotland website.
“No place remains static and unchanged, frozen in its past, but the past gives us a sense of place and belonging that helps shape our future, and this is what Lewis has shown me.”
Some thoughts on my recent residency on Lewis with Island Darkroom have been posted up on their site. I was very grateful for the opportunity to spend time there in February, and you can read the full account of what I have taken away from it, here: