Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
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Spring 2020

KAPKA KASSABOVA talks place and mind with NICK MAJOR, JAMES SINCLAIR sails to the Greenland ice, CHRIS ARTHUR chases feathered Zen, JENNIFER MORAG HENDERSON celebrates crime-writing women, ROBIN FULTON MACPHERSON and many others unveil new poems

PLUS stories aplenty and some of our plans at a time of crisis.

Saothair ùr Ghàidhlig ann an Tuath le Caoimhin MacNèill, Lisa NicDhòmhnaill, Babs NicGriogair, Maggie Rabatski, Eòghan Stiùbhart agus sgrìobhadairean eile. New work in Gaelic by Meg Bateman, Angus Peter Campbell, Myles Campbell, Peter Mackay and others.

Editor: Kenny Taylor
Gaelic Editor: Rody Gorman


In these times of pandemic, the Northwords Board has decided to delay main publication of the current issue in print until we can be confident of a modest level of distribution. At present, all our regular outlets are closed. We’ll hope to have another print run – though smaller than our usual one – when circumstances allow.

However (at the risk of stating the obvious to all of you now reading this on a screen), a full version of this issue (No. 39) is now online. This includes a .pdf of the whole publication, and – as begun last year – archiving of each work under writer name.

There’s exciting content within these virtual pages. This includes new work from internationally renowned poet and translator, Robin Fulton Macpherson, an in-depth interview with Kapka Kassabova, and a major new poem sequence in Shetlandic by James Sinclair. As you’ll have come to expect if you’re a regular reader of Northwords Now, there's also a wealth of other new prose, poetry and non-fiction.

The principal contribution we can make, as global sands shift around us, is to give both readers and writers a boost. We hope to do this by continuing to cultivate and expand our online presence as resources permit. To begin, this is our largest issue yet, with 40 pages, rather than the previous 32, plus the annual ‘Tuath’ supplement of new Gaelic writing. Over the next few months, we’ll also be exploring ways, including with advice from our funders – Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig – to further enhance our online presence in ways that will make Northwords Now even more enjoyable and useful to writers and readers across the north.

Thanks for visiting us, and so being part of the unfolding Northwords Now project.

Kenny Taylor, Editor

Issue 39 Index
When The Dead Come CallingReview by Jennifer Morag Henderson
A Day in my LifePoem by Robin Fulton Macpherson
Still LochPoem by Robin Fulton Macpherson
Apple-Tree LeavesPoem by Robin Fulton Macpherson
HawthornPoem by Robin Fulton Macpherson
Kjell Espmark reaches ninetyPoem by Robin Fulton Macpherson
North TrainPoem by Robin Fulton Macpherson
EquatePoem by Iain Twiddy
Afore The MastStory by Suzy A Kelly
RisingStory by Amanda Gilmour
Zen and the Art of Catching birds in WordsArticle by Chris Arthur
Taklamakan – PrologueStory by Ian Tallach
Horse LochPoem by Marion McCready
At HallgrimskirkjaPoem by Lynn Valentine
NinaPoem by Lynn Valentine
LandscaperPoem by Lynn Valentine
OmissionsPoem by Karen Hodgson Price
SpudsStory by Hamish Brown
BeginningsPoem by Grahaeme Barrasford Young
Beginning late, finishing laterPoem by Grahaeme Barrasford Young
Descending SchiehallionPoem by Grahaeme Barrasford Young
The PheasantPoem by Satyapada Campbell
Coal deliveryPoem by Petra Vergunst
LyricalPoem by Gillian Dawson
PastoralPoem by Gillian Dawson
Back Fae Da EdgePoem by James Sinclair
Laevin HamePoem by James Sinclair
MellishonPoem by James Sinclair
Shaestin wir PreyPoem by James Sinclair
Honest GraftPoem by James Sinclair
Shaestin a FeynessPoem by James Sinclair
Lost SowlsPoem by James Sinclair
Makkin a Run Fur HitPoem by James Sinclair
TrappitPoem by James Sinclair
Mirrie DancersPoem by James Sinclair
LossPoem by James Sinclair
StarvationPoem by James Sinclair
Lang LippenedPoem by James Sinclair
Slippin AwaPoem by James Sinclair
Setting OnStory by Craig Aitchison
ScryingArticle by Nicola Madill
How I take a new motherPoem by Lydia Harris
Charm to re-assemble a jam jug, from fragments of beach leamPoem by Lydia Harris
SalonPoem by Lydia Popowich
TestamentPoem by Lydia Popowich
Structure 8 (the workshop)Poem by Ingrid Leonard
The Early DeadPoem by Ingrid Leonard
TimefoldsPoem by Gail Low
Places in the Mind: An Interview with Kapka KassabovaPoem by Nick Major
Cliff at NossPoem by Imogen Forster
LeveretPoem by Imogen Forster
Night-drive, DeerPoem by James Andrew
Before the Play at Uig HallPoem by Clair Tierney
Minor Comedy UnitPoem by Marka Rifat
Dad DancingPoem by Marka Rifat
A Whole Lamb and a CigarPoem by Rachel Carmichael
PUPPoem by Carey Coombs
Kelly and the WhaleStory by Heather Beaton
Canticle on the Wild Atlantic WayPoem by Nikki Robson
RockpoolPoem by Nikki Robson
Border HillsPoem by Julian Colton
GardenerPoem by Sharon Black
The Inner IslesPoem by Sharon Black
Jack's ShiresPoem by Derek Crook
JessiePoem by Derek Crook
FishPoem by Amelia Graham
ButterfliesPoem by Amelia Graham
Bute and BeyondPoem by Robin Munro
St BlanePoem by Robin Munro
LegendPoem by Robin Munro
My Final InverkeithingPoem by Paula Jennings
Looking OutPoem by Paula Jennings
Scotland in SpaceArticle by Paul F Cockburn
Seven HaikuPoem by Barry Graham
The Butterfly EffectPoem by Eveline Pye
Rodden TreePoem by Edith Harper
The Amazon WomanPoem by Pip Osmond-Williams
WishbonePoem by Graham Turner
BelongingsStory by Maggie Wallis
Belongings (Audio)Audio by Maggie Wallis
waney-edged woodPoem by Isabel Thompson
Annie Morrison’s hatPoem by Peter Godfrey
DustStory by Gabrielle Barnby
Shattered DreamsStory by Hazel Urquhart
The LampStory by Ricky Monaghan Brown
Chartin his wye hamePoem by Isobel Rutland
Mary Queen of Scots 1542-1587Poem by Anna Pia
Blasted ThingsReview by Cynthia Rogerson
Let there be lightReview by Valerie Beattie
MickReview by Cynthia Rogerson
A Telling of StonesReview by Ian Stephen
The Lyre Dancers (Vol 3 of The Stone Stories trilogy)Review by Margaret Elphinstone
Wordplay and energyReview by Ian Stephen
Narratives describing journeys with an equine companionReview by Kenny Taylor
ShoormalArticle by Lesley Harrison
Pinkie MaclureCover Art by Pinkie Maclure
StoirmPoem by Meg Bateman
An CèilidhPoem by Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul
An lon-dubhPoem by Maoilios Caimbeul
Sa Mhàrt Poem by Maoilios Caimbeul
Maois (n.)Poem by Pàdraig Macaoidh
New Year’s DayPoem by Lisa NicDhòmhnaill
Fàgail na h-EòrpaPoem by Lisa NicDhòmhnaill
Bidh Mi AlrightPoem by Lisa NicDhòmhnaill
Am FearannPoem by Lisa NicDhòmhnaill
UabhasStory by Lisa NicDhòmhnaill
Stanley El PerroPoem by Babs Nicgriogair
Dhèanainn sùgradh ris an nighean dubhPoem by Babs Nicgriogair
Because the night belongs to us…Poem by Babs Nicgriogair
air plèana a tha mar chorrag a’ comharrachadh ris a’ ghealaichPoem by Caoimhin MacNèill
Bring the Moon Home - SoundCloudAudio by Caoimhin MacNèill
Kōan KōfuPoem by Caoimhin MacNèill
taighean-solaisPoem by Caoimhin MacNèill
FuinnPoem by Maggie Rabatski
BòrdPoem by Maggie Rabatski
Ge ’s bith dè bhristeas an doras…Poem by Maggie Rabatski
Oisin às dèidh na FèinnePoem by Eòghan Stiùbhart
Oisin agus an Dabhach NH5740Poem by Eòghan Stiùbhart
Download the Tuath Supplement PDF
Download NorthwordsNow Issue 39 PDF

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