Saturday 25 April 2020

Poetry and Music from the Backroom 41: The Makar Willie Hershaw

I met Willie a few years back when he hosted a 'Sheep and Buirds' event in Betty Nichol's in Kirkcaldy. 'Buirds' was a beautiful crafted pamphlet by Hugh Bryden's Roncadora Press, featuring linocuts by Fiona Morton and Willie's poems.

It was a warm and vibrant occasion, full of poetry and music, the type we dream of in these covid days. Willie Hershaw is a Scots poet of serious stature, and also a musician and songwriter, as is his son David.

His works in Scots and English include 'Fower Brigs Tae A Kinrik' published by Aberdeen University Press and 'The Cowdenbeath Man' published by the Scottish Cultural Press.  In 2005 he won the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award. In 2007 he collaborated with sculptor David Annand, writing the poem 'God The Miner' which is inscribed on the statue 'The Prop' as part of the Lochgelly Regeneration Project. In 2011 he was awarded the McCash Prize for Scots Poetry by Glasgow University/The Herald. He has co - edited the Literary Magazine Fras.  In November 2012 'Cage Load Of Men' was released as part of the Joe Corrie Project, work inspired by the legendary Fife poet and playwright. His latest books include his Scots translation of The Tempest and Postcairds Fae Woodwick Mill (2015), an Orcadian poetry collection. His Selected Poems in Scots was published in December 2016.


Puffed up preenin wee paircels o shite
that hing aboot public places
ostentatiously nebbin pieces
o invisible breid tae affirm
their commitment tae programmes
o communal austerity.

Willie's Profile in the SPL and more poems here:

In the video, Willie's son David sings his arrangement for one of Willie's poems. 'God's No Sleepin'.

God’s No Sleepin
Attour the world
Saut tears faa dreepan,
Bide sauf the nicht,
For God’s no sleepin.

A lanesome ark
O tint sauls greetin,
Bide lown, be sained,
For God’s no sleepin.

The daurk maun pass,
The daw comes creepin,
Courie doun, courie in,
For God’s no sleepin.

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