Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
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Autumn 2018

JENNIFER MORAG HENDERSON on the work of Man-Booker-shortlisted poet, ROBIN ROBERTSON, MICHAEL MARRA’S  Black Isle gigs remembered by DAVID GILBERT, SALLY FRANK & GAIL LOW on losing, living and writing, PAUL F COCKBURN looks at Scottish fan fiction, AMANDA THOMPSON takes an artist’s view of old Scots words, BOB PEGG finds poetry in the fells

PLUS Stories both flashy and longer, poems in diverse voices, a short play script, articles, reviews and new Gaelic writing

Editor: Kenny Taylor
Gaelic Editor: Rody Gorman


This summer, I had the pleasure of travelling along much of Norway’s mighty Sognefjord and meeting many Norwegians in places near and north of it. One of the many striking aspects of this area, obvious drama of mountains, glaciers and seascapes apart, is regional pride in both culture and language.

Western Norway, beyond Bergen, is a national stronghold of a distinctive form of written Norwegian called ‘Nynorsk’ (new Norwegian). Closer to Old Norse than the language written by most people in the rest of the country, this is based largely on the work of one man, Ivar Aasen, in the mid-1800s. This student of language, playwright and poet travelled widely and created a fusion of dialects that led later to Nynorsk.

That alone is fairly mind boggling – almost as if MacDiarmid’s ‘synthetic Scots’ was now the official, and widely used, language of a chunk of Scotland. But the real pleasure of Nynorsk, for me, is in seeing and hearing how a distinctive variant of a language (largely understood across the whole country) can enrich both contemporary communication and sense of place.

That’s part of the reason why Northwords Now, in addition to being an important medium for new Gaelic writing, also celebrates diversity of writing in many forms of Scots and English, including in this issue. Roll those words on the tongue, and enjoy.

Kenny Taylor, Editor

Issue 36 Index
Scotland’s Literary ResurrectionistsArticle by Paul F Cockburn
Every yearPoem by Sharon Black
Sheela-na-gigPoem by Sharon Black
A Seat at Cailleach FarmPoem by Sharon Black
SoothmootherPoem by Maxine Rose Munro
Evening Draws On at TotePoem by Anjali Suzanne Angel
The Vanishing PointStory by Olga Wotjas
PrisonerPlay by Phil Baarda
Time in TattersPoem by Sally Evanz
CanadaPoem by Ian McDonough
Disposal of the Body as Individual ActPoem by Lydia Harris
Day Trip to ForesterhillsPoem by Lydia Harris
John O Groats Sunday, May DayPoem by Sharon Gunason
Diving BellePoem by Linda Menzies
Bennachie, OctoberPoem by Mandy Macdonald
A Question of Honour Story by Ian Tallach
Highland PebblePoem by Frances Ainslie
The BoyStory by Jo Gilbert
Going homeStory by Trudy Duffy-Wigman
Sumburgh, 1952Poem by Martin Malone
TorridonPoem by Robin Wilson
Lullaby for a Folk SingerPoem by Robin Wilson
Mappa MundiPoem by Robin Wilson
Rooms by the seaPoem by Judith Taylor
The Sixty-OnePoem by Aileen West
The RigPoem by Iain Twiddy
The Room With No ViewPoem by Jim C Wilson
Beyond The Dunes Poem by Jim C Wilson
AncestryPoem by Hamish Myers
SecretsStory by Sheena Blackhall
Winter NightPoem by Linda Tyler
Poets' Paradise Story by David McVey
Three encounters wi ra Bodhisattva ay compassion in Maryhill, GlasgowStory by Dubh
Echo RockPoem by Evan Cowan
Waiting with Greyfriars BobbyPoem by Janis Clark
Driving LessonPoem by Merryn Glover
The ReunionPoem by Sheila Lockhart
The Chimney SweeperPoem by Sheila Lockhart
Suith inPoem by Kirsteen Bell
Celebrating a CypressPoem by Joan Gibson
Savour the huamArticle by Amanda Thompson
CataractsStory by Roddie McKenzie
ForeshorePoem by Howard Wright
The SeafrontPoem by Howard Wright
The WaterfallPoem by Howard Wright
In a Hebridean cemeteryPoem by Peter Godfrey
Kyleakin ferry rememberedPoem by Peter Godfrey
LeavingPoem by Susan Elsley
GonePoem by Susan Elsley
If You’re Out TherePoem by Marie-Bernadette Rollins
A Long Look at The Long TakeReview by Jennifer Morag Henderson
Michael Marra: Arrest This Moment by James RobertsonReview by David Gilbert
Fiends Fell & Ballad of Jamie Allan by Tom PickardReview by Bob Pegg
Sand and scrim and tarnished goldReview by Lydia Harris
Arts: of losing, living and writingPoem by Sally Frank and Gail Low
The Wrong IdeaPoem by S A MacLeod
Clues to unsolved casesPoem by Mark Ryan Smith
Dynamite dayPoem by Mark Ryan Smith
If he’d done the right thingPoem by Mark Innis
The doctor’s advicePoem by Mark Innis
Heart RotPoem by Matthew Gallivan
Ten Minutes of Weather AwayPoem by Leonie Charlton
DNA On IonaPoem by Leonie Charlton
Wheesht, mo ghràidh Poem by Arun Sood
Peatfire (Proustian)Poem by Arun Sood
EvictionPoem by Robin Munro
NewcomersPoem by Robin Munro
Suicide MangoPoem by Juliet Antill
RhapsodyPoem by Phil Baarda
Flipstones – New and Selected Poems & The Language of Lighthouses Review by Kenny Taylor
The Walrus Mutterer by Mandy Haggith Review by Kenny Taylor
A’ leughadh sna làithean saoraPoem by Meg Bateman
Reading on HolidayPoem by Meg Bateman
Bean PhàdraigPoem by Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul
Gràs nan DathanPoem by Maoilios Caimbeul
Fuachd umha m’ fhallaisPoem by Dàibhidh Eyre
A Cheart ChuairtPoem by Màrtainn Mac an t-Saoir
The Same RacePoem by Màrtainn Mac an t-Saoir
Air Tràigh DhòrnaichPoem by Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh
air an rathad Poem by Aonghas MacNeacail
on the roadPoem by Aonghas MacNeacail
an ròs beag bànPoem by Aonghas MacNeacail
CafaidhPoem by Caoimhin MacNèill
An LathaPoem by Caoimhin MacNèill
Soitheach nan DaoinePoem by Deborah Moffatt
Sgoil nan Seanmhairean, PhanganePoem by Maggie Rabatski
Canada VI – Thall ’s a-BhosPoem by Eòghan Stiùbhart
Canada VII – BrataicheanPoem by Eòghan Stiùbhart
Canada VIII - CoyotePoem by Eòghan Stiùbhart
Canada IX – Dithis FhuamhaireanPoem by Eòghan Stiùbhart
Canada X – In Our Hearts We Behold The HebridesPoem by Eòghan Stiùbhart
Frog LoveStory by Sherry Morris
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