Monday 25 March 2013


The programmes are out and about now locally for the second Orkney Book Festival running from the 11-14 April.

For those not lucky enough to be here in the 'small green isles', you can find the whole programme by clicking this link to the GMB Fellowship Website

After a week of gales and sudden furious snow flurries, the sun is shining and the sky is the colour of the sky in the poster above. Mind you, you'll still need storm pegs to hang out your washing if you don't want your clothes festooning the fields round about. Or worse, ending up in Norway! Have a look at mine today by clicking the link above.

I'll be blogging about the different events in the weeks coming up to the festival, but here is a taste of two poets to feature in the festival:

from Storms

I wished for a storm to test my strength against.
I cried for the gale-force wind,
For electric explosions,
For sheets of rain.
I looked to the motionless wisps of cloud,
To the serene blue of the sky
And wished them transformed.
I wished to be battered and to emerge triumphant ...

From Margaret Tait: Poems, Stories and Writings, edited by Sarah Neely

You can hear this poem in full read beautifully by Gerda Stevenson in the film Margaret Tait: Film Poet
to be shown on 
Friday 12 April at 7.00 pm 
in the Pier Arts Centre.

But if you want to see it, you must BOOK EARLY by phoning the Pier Arts Centre on 01856 850209.

The film was commissioned by Glasgow Women's Library and will be shown after the George Mackay Brown Memorial Lecture to be delivered this year by Sarah Neely.

There is also a rare chance to see Blue Black Permanent, Margaret Tait's only feature film. This will be shown by Mark Jenkins in a special screening by the independent film group, Westside Cinema, in Stromness Town Hall on Thursday 11 April at 7.30 pm.

Gerda Stevenson in Blue Black Permanent
 The film stars multi talented Gerda Stevenson, who will be there in conversation with Sarah Neely and later in the festival will read from her own poetry.

Sarah Forrest with Alex Pirie, husband of Margaret Tait

The first recipient of the Margaret Tait Residency, Sarah Forrest, will also show her film, That Now on the same evening.

Cragsman's Widow

He was aye vaigan b' the shore,
An climman amang the craigs,
Swappan the mallimaks,
Or taakan whitemaa aiggs.

It's six year bye come Lammas,
Sin he gaed afore the face,
An nane but an auld dune wife
Was left to work the place.

Yet the sun shines doun on a'thing,
The links are bonnie and green,
An the sea keeps ebban an' flowan
As though it had never been.

Robert Rendall from Collected Poems, edited by John Flett Brown and Brian Murray

You can hear more of Robert Rendall's poems read by Orkney readers:

4.00pm on Saturday 13 April 
in Orkney Library & Archive 
with the book's editors, 
Brian Murray and John Flett Brown 

They will be there to talk about the poet and the process of bringing out this fine collection of his poems.
A Still from Blue Black Permanent

1 comment:

  1. Lovely poems. Thank you! Can't wait for my Margaret Tait immersion weekend!


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