Saturday, 2 May 2020

Poetry from the Backroom 48: Christine De Luca

I’ve only been to Shetland once when Tessa Ransford took me under her wing many years ago and we flew in a Sopwith Camel on a rollicking poetry tour. I loved and was inspired by the place and I was only there for ten days! Nae wonder folk who were born there, or live there, are struck with such inordinate and strange genius. Considering it resides in a small box on the top of the map it is brimming with poets. Christie Williamson, Robert Alan Jamieson for instance and my welcome guest in the Backroom today, Makar of Edinburgh from 2014-17, Christine De Luca. 

Christine has been a great ambassador for Shetland, and Scotland, writing poetry in both English and Shetlandic, performing, and being translated, all over the world. She is the author of five poetry collections, including two Luath Press books, 'Parallel Worlds' and 'North End of Eden', and the pamphlet 'Dat Trickster Sun' (Mariscat Press), which was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets. Most recently her poetry can be found in 'Paolozzi at Large' in Edinburgh published in 2018 by Luath and co-edited with Carlo Pirozzi, and 'Singing the City' - a collection of poems written as Makar for the City of Edinburgh, published in 2017 by The Saltire Society.

Christine’s work has been translated widely:'Mondes Parallèles' (éditions fédérop) won the poetry Prix du Livre Insulaire and Trauben published an Italian version of 'Dat Trickster Sun'- 'Sunas Questo sole furfante' in 2015. In 2017 came 'Heimferðir/Haemfarins', with translations into Icelandic by Aðalsteinn Ásberg Sigurðsson, and 'Glimt av opphav /Glims o origin' with Norwegian versions by Odd Goksøyr. In turn Christine has translated other poets into Shetlandic; she is particularly interested in links with Nordic countries and has participated in collaborations working in minority languages of Europe. 

Here Christine Reads a brand new poem! 'The Daily Ration'. 

Books DNA (Reprinted from Island Review)

Foo wan we here, tae dis place,
dis island; an wi dis tribe? Laekly

we wir hunkered doon, hoidin
fae cataclysms, faercist winds,

fae sunless days, starnless nichts;
dan huntin wir wye nort, winterin

trowe a ice age, deep i da gloor
o caves, paintin images o deer,

o bison lunderin ahead, trackin a
niff o green. As caald slackent

we spleet fae wir ain fock,
gud wir gaet, kerryin tinderbox,

seeds, mony a tale; brakkin oot
a tyoch laand, steyney or sabbin.

Naeboady is a island, yet still wir
solitary, ambivalent begyetters,

wint wi boondaries. Der a hint, a gey
strynd o da explorer lingerin i da DNA,

keepin wis on da möv, untrammelled;
unique, but sib tae da hale wirld,

encoded i dat wan aerly continent,
dat first ocean island, wir genesis.

Hear Christine read this poem here:

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