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Poem inspired by grandkids wins Rhoda Bulter award

Joyce Reid's poem was inspired by her new grandchildren Euan (left) and Evie (right), born within three weeks of each other.

THE WINNER of this year’s Rhoda Bulter Award is Joyce Reid from Quarff, whose poem was inspired by the birth of her two grandchildren earlier this year.

The competition was for a dialect poem on the theme of “joy”. It was judged by the Bulter family who present the trophy in memory of their mother, one of Shetland’s most influential dialect writers.

Speaking on behalf of his brothers and sisters, John Bulter said: “We were greatly impressed with the high standard of the entries and the novel ideas used, and enjoyed every one.

“Some were deeply moving, others thought-provoking. Several had used reminiscence and elicited our own fond memories. Others we enjoyed for their humour; and some made us feel real joy.”

The winning poem, John said, “exploded with joy”.

Joyce said she was delighted to have won: “I’m thrilled, absolutely thrilled, and humbled too.”

She said the births of her grandson Euan and granddaughter Evie in the space of three weeks earlier this year provided the inspiration for the poem.

They are the children of Joyce’s two daughters, Jenna and Bethany Reid, the fiddle-playing sisters who are among Shetland’s finest musicians.

The competition is administered by Shetland ForWirds and its convener Mary Blance said: “It’s been lovely ta be pairt o encouragin new writing in dialect.”

A further seven writers are given a special mention by the judges – Eddie Barclay (junior), Beth Cummings, Frances Jamieson, Rosemary Johnson, Jennifer Nisbet, Alison Shearer and Vina Sinclair.

The prize is a serpentine and silver trophy designed and made by Rosalyn Thompson and the winner also gets a copy of Hairst is Coosed, the collected poems of Rhoda Bulter.