Wednesday, 15 May 2013

IAN STEPHEN - Poet, Storyteller & Sailor in Transit

Ian Stephen frequently sails under his own steam round the islands of Scotland, gathering stories and writing poems as he goes and telling them to rapt audiences wherever he ties up his boat.

This Friday we are lucky enough to be on his route between Ullapool and Lewis - the long way round!

Ian will appear as part of the Orkney Library & Archives contribution to  Orkney Nature Festival's Maritime Day in the wood-lined ship's hold of the Upper Library at Stromness Academy, so he should feel at home.

Ian Stephen
Friday 17 May
7.00 pm
Upper Library
Stromness Academy

Entry FREE 
Wine, soft drinks & nibbles provided

Ian's poems reflect his island background and his passions for the big seas and skies round Scotland.

"A writer, artist and storyteller, Ian Stephen was born in Stornoway in 1955 and still lives on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. He studied English, Drama and Education at Aberdeen University. After 15 years in the coastguard, he became a full-time writer of poetry, prose and drama in 1995. His poetry and short stories have been published in periodicals in many countries since 1979. 

Ian was awarded writing bursaries from the Scottish Arts Council in 1981 and 1995. He was also the inaugural winner of the Christian Salvesen/Robert Louis Stevenson award in 1995, and in 2004, he was the first artist in residence at StAnza, Scotland's annual poetry festival. He received a Creative Scotland Award, contributed to Zenomap (Venice Biennale 2003), and represented Scotland at ‘Poetry without Borders’ in the Czech Republic, 2004.
Among his publications are Malin, Hebrides, Minches, with photos by Sam Maynard (Dangaroo Press, Denmark, 1983), Varying States of Grace(Polygon, 1989), Mackerel & Cremola (pocketbooks, 2001), and It's about this (Nomad/ Survivors Press, 2004), from a poem-log of a voyage to Orkney, commissioned by StAnza. A bilingual edition of his poetry, Adrift / Napospas vln├ím, was published in Czech in 2007." (from Scottish Poetry Library website)

Sanday Island

Expansive skies
as of Dutch-masters
but these are faster:
shifting light tones.
Sea colours assault
both shores and eyes.
A lot of angry white
breaking from brilliance.

Dry dykes could never
hold that water out
so grazings and furrows are
backspaced a field-fathom.

But lichened slabs,
cemented just high enough
to make muted roofs,
stay-put on built frames.

Gales ruffle skins
of sand and walls:
of cattle and dwellings
and pass over all.
Ian Stephen
from Varying States of Grace (Polygon, 1989)

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