WORDPLAY 2018 officially began on Thursday evening in Mareel with A Celebration of Shetland Writing where a small, intimate audience gathered to listen to poetry and prose from a variety of local writers. Alex Purbrick was in the audience.
Shetland-born poet and writer Robert Alan Jamieson compered the event and expressed the richness that the Wordplay festival brings to the isles and how the evening was dedicated to the memory of Alex Cluness, former literature development officer at Shetland Arts and founder of Wordplay, who sadly passed away earlier this year.
He read some of the beautiful, haunting poetry of Alex Cluness and shared with the audience memories of a man who was not only an exceptionally talented poet but who also “devoted his time to support and nurture local writers as well as being incredibly supportive of Shetland dialect writing”.
As the evening progressed several writers from writing groups across Shetland shared their poems and prose. Many expressed their fondness of Alex and how inspired they had been by his work, such as Bruce Eunson who dedicated a moving dialect piece Whaar it rains da right wye in his memory.
There were a broad range of poems recited from an array of talented local writers but the dialect poetry evoked a poignant response ranging from amusing to reflective to melancholy and forlorn reminding us of how emotive listening to dialect in poetic form can be.
This was especially evident in the work of two up and coming young Shetland writers, Peter Ratter and Roseanne Watt, who shared a selection of their poems written in Shetland dialect.
Roseanne recently won the 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award (one of the largest literary prizes in the UK) and is due to release her first published collection of work Moder Dy in May 2019.
She expressed how she “grappled with writing Shetland dialect” even though she is a native Shetlander, but her poems are testament to the beautiful, melodic sentiments she carries from her roots within the Shetland landscape and culture.
Peter Ratter was shortlisted for the 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and is a prominent face in the Scottish youth poetry scene. He eloquently read his poetry which conveyed sensitive, emotional recollections of his childhood as well as his passionate bonds with his Shetland upbringing.
A Celebration of Shetland Writing was certainly an inspiring celebration of words to mark this weekend’s busy schedule of local, national and international writing talent descending upon Shetland’s literary scene.
As Robert Allan Jamieson concluded in his final speech: “It’s been a fruitful gathering and shows that literature is alive and well in Shetland.”
Wordplay is on until Sunday. The full programme can be found here, and tickets are still available at Mareel or online at https://tickets.shetlandarts.org/sales/categories/literature/wordplay-2018
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 380 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News