Archive | April, 2015

Poetry Map of Scotland no. 172: Monreith

29 Apr

The Kelton Steps

Dated yet timeless they descend
To the black rocks and tide-flattened sand
Cradled in the scooped coastline
They are crudely named

Littered with dry grasses
Their crooked edges fail to hold back
The earth, thrift and hawkweed
Pushing

The sun hot handrail polished
By generations and tourists
Affords it’s warm counsel
To modern pilgrims

Descending, ascending
Their uneven number rises up
And up, to Monreith with corrupt symmetry
To the lay-by looking over to Man

They seemed endless in my childhood
Yet they are my childhood now
Still countless going down
And countless coming up

 

Graeme Stewart

 

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, and for instructions on how to submit, see http://ow.ly/J4Aja
All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

StAnza appoints two Honorary Presidents

26 Apr

At our 2015 AGM which took place on Saturday 25th April, it was announced that StAnza has decided to bestow the honorary title of Honorary President on two of StAnza’s founders, Anna Crowe and Brian Johnstone in recognition of all they have done for StAnza over the past eighteen years and their many and varied contributions over the years. The announcement was warmly welcomed by the StAnza membership as a very well-deserved and timely tribute.

Anna Crowe, reading the English versions of poems by Kim Simonsen at StAnza 2015: photo by Helena Fornells

Anna Crowe, reading the English versions of poems by Kim Simonsen at StAnza 2015: photo by Helena Fornells

Anna Crowe is a poet and translator of Catalan and Mexican poetry, as well as co-founder and former Artistic Director of StAnza. Her Mariscat collection, Figure in a Landscape, won the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award and was a Poetry Book Society Choice. Her latest book of translations, Peatlands (Arc, 2014), features the work of the Mexican poet Pedro Serrano. In 2005 the Society of Authors awarded her a Travelling Scholarship. Her poetry has been translated into Catalan, Spanish, Italian and German.

Brian Johnstone introducing event at StAnza 2014: photo by Jacqueline Skelton

Brian Johnstone introducing event at StAnza 2014: photo by Jacqueline Skelton

Brian Johnstone is a Scottish poet, writer and performer. He has published six collections, most recently Dry Stone Work (Arc, 2014). In 2015 his work appeared on the UK’s Poetry Archive website. His poems have been translated into over a dozen languages; in 2009 Terra Incognita, a chapbook in Italian translation, was published by L’Officina (Vicenza). A founder and former Director of StAnza, he has appeared at various poetry festivals, from Macedonia to Nicaragua, and at numerous venues across the UK.

 

 

 

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 171: Glasgow

25 Apr

Lang Mary and the Darnley Tree

To this day stands the Darnley tree
or so they say. It’s spawned a lot
of stories born in yester-lore;
a Scottish maple – Platanus,
though some would call it sycamore.

Like many trees that harbour tales,
the telling’s tall, but where’s the harm
in fables sown as spreading girth
across the years deceives the fool
agape and barks the tree in mirth.

In narratives, there’s myths of her
usurping truths, forsaking him,
the libertine who would carouse,
but underneath this plane, old tree,
Lang Mary sighed, beneath its boughs,

by Crookston, where her Darnley sat,
effete, unsound and near to death
from Cupid’s itch, and pleas for wealth
from mounted counts beyond the gate
required she nursed him back to health,

the man who wore a crown, an earl,
a lord, debauched and dissolute.
He grew to be like deadwood, lopped,
wi’ sark for shroud in Kirk o’ Field,
while she, poor quean, was cropped and chopped.

 

Ian Colville

 

An earlier version of this poem appeared on Poetry Scotland’s Open Mouse.

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, and for instructions on how to submit, see http://ow.ly/J4Aja
All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 170: Tiree

24 Apr

The Maze, Tiree

It was the whiteness of the shell
the sweep of wet beach, the spread
of dark rocks holding it down.

It was the lean of the grass
the wrinkled sea, all the talk
about a change in the weather.

It was the forgotten plastic bag
the burnt out car, the stains
of oil and rust that lingered.

It was wild primroses on Kennavar
in morning sun, the way we live,
what we have done.

 

Lesley Jackson

 

This poem featured on postcards and an installation produced as part of StAnza 2015’s An Archipelago of Poems installation

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, and for instructions on how to submit, see http://ow.ly/J4Aja

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 169: Loch Tay

23 Apr

On The Shores Of Loch Tay Where We Were Married
For Jill

On the shores of Loch Tay
Where we were married
My heart is glad.

Between the water and Finlarig
And the peak of Creag na Caillich;

Below the slopes of Tir Artair,
Land of my fathers who
Were smiling from their clouds
The day we were wed

And who poured down tears
Of joy on our heads
And on the heads of our kin
Gathered with us,
Blessing us all.

With you I know I am home.

 

Drew McNaughton

Previously published on the Scottish Book Trust website and on soundcloud

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, and for instructions on how to submit, see http://ow.ly/J4Aja

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 168: Wester Ross

22 Apr

Torridon

Mid-June and there’s new
snow on Liathach
the mountains here
have no time for seasons
they’ve seen Ice Ages
come and go

Their roots grip
the earth’s core
their summits
converse with clouds

And we who crawl around their feet
kiss the face of time in passing
as mayflies flick the silver water
spawning a future that shines and fades

 

Kirk Saunders

 

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, and for instructions on how to submit, see http://ow.ly/J4Aja

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 167: Callander

21 Apr

Early Morning Cigarette – Callander 2011

Standing outside the Dreadnought Hotel,
mist is hanging between Earth and tips of Craigs,
and the just discernable trees with pointy fingers.
In a hazy-blue sky
clouds are like tiny pink petals of roses.

A lady is smoking – laboriously,
she tells me, she fell heavily onto
the pavement the night before.
Her lower teeth are loose.

I point to the beauty and mystery all
around us – she agrees.
I tell her how I had heard
the night before, an owl hooting
in the stillness.
Inappropriate perhaps?

Later, I know
I will hear, beauty, mystery, laughter;
in Sally and Ian’s bookshop,
as many poets read their work.

But for now we smile;
and I return to the breakfast-dining room.

 

Maureen Weldon

 

First published on Sally Evans’ blog 2011

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, and for instructions on how to submit, see http://ow.ly/J4Aja
All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 166: Wood of Cree

20 Apr

Sigh

 ‘Sigh ~ a long, deep, audible breath . . .’

a slight breeze in little trees
a nibble of bark
an exhale of mist
a groan of leaves lying deep in the woods
the weightless touch of a feather
a handful of unspent sorrows
a lingering absence
the hoot of an owl
a tuft of mood and memory
quiet tones of umber
damp needles and slumber
a stream tasting of moss and stories
a sweet ache of lost blue
a blush of birdsong
a restless gust of crows
a faint breath of homeless wind
an echo of stag rut
the footprints of a fox
a keening of hilltop
a whisper of questioning
a little lichen on a rotting log
the wing of a butterfly clinging to its days
an ember of moon in the hush of the evening
a tang of tree sap and woodsmoke
a swirl of sodden petals
a whisp of fern
a psalm of lament
deep, long starlight
a sifting of cones under pines
a small dream
a sacred seeking
sigh

 

Renita Boyle

 

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, and for instructions on how to submit, see http://ow.ly/J4Aja
All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 165: Southern Upland Way

19 Apr

reivers

along the ribbon of heather strewn
gorge,gorse-edged
they travelled wind
whipping hard, dirty matted skelps
hair lashed cold mens’cheeks

hard they had worked that night
Armstrong’s fields cleared of stirks, tups
ewes- all taken;
penned roughly in cairns high
on ridges by Moniaive

now, up
by the ruined kirk
the Southern Upland Way,
we, twenty first
century travellers
halt; our cold cheeks
hailstung, windwhipped
remembering Reivers

 

Carolyn Richardson

 

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, and for instructions on how to submit, see http://ow.ly/J4Aja
All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 164: Eshaness

19 Apr

The Madonna of the Rocks

She was in a narrow crevice
on Eshaness; she looked up
as they looked down

into a small, savage, pure white face
to take the breath away.
Lifting her lip

over tiny ivory knives, keeping
her kits behind her, she stood
her ground, staring

defiance at the giant faces
who could not tell her
they too were parents,

could only admire how she spat
come on if you think you’re hard enough
at Herod’s army.

 

Sheenagh Pugh

From Short Days, Long Shadows (Seren, 2014)

 

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, and for instructions on how to submit, see http://ow.ly/J4Aja

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

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