Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
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Spring-Summer 2021

LEONIE CHARLTON follows pony paths, DEBORAH MOFFATT muses on Mexico, CHRIS ARTHUR asks "What is it like to be alive?", LINDA CRACKNELL gets castaway inspiration from RLS, WILLIE HERSHAW introduces poems by the late DONALD MACKAY, IAN STEPHEN speaks in three voices, PLUS many more stories and poems, news and an effusion of reviews.


Editor: Kenny Taylor
Gaelic Editor: Rody Gorman


The blossoms and birdsong of spring seem especially fine this year, as people emerge, blinking, into the light of post-lockdown days. Part of the challenges and sorrows of the past year is reflected in some of the writing in Gaelic, Scots and English in this issue.

But another – positive – effect of recent restrictions seems to have been to boost the output of many writers and small publishers in Scotland. Submissions of new work to Northwords Now have reached record levels. I’d like to thank all those who did submit poetry and prose through our website, but whose writing we couldn’t include, and to say: ‘keep trying – we appreciate your interest.’

To give ideas for possible reading and fresh inspiration, whether indoors or out, the reviews section has expanded to six pages for this issue. Within it, you’ll see how seven writers responded to a wheen of new publications, including a dozen recent poetry collections.

We’ll also be running some reviews on this recently re-vamped website, as well as having a rolling programme of audio-visual, news and archive material to refresh our homepage between publication of new issues. Thanks to many of our distribution outlets re-opening, we’ve also had a return to printing many thousands of copies – something that wasn’t possible last year.

You can find a list of Stockists here. We can’t guarantee they’ll still have a print copy when you get there, but we do know that every one of these Northwords Now supporters will be worth your visit.

Kenny Taylor, Editor

Issue 41 Index
Pony PathsStory by Leonie Charlton
The Oak on Allt Coire MhàrtuinPoem by Leonie Charlton
UrlarPoem by John Bolland
DithisPoem by John Bolland
SuibhalPoem by John Bolland
HomecomingPoem by Anna Macfie
WarePoem by Cáit O'Neill McCullagh
Glacialis, the Blue Fulmar, flies southPoem by Lydia Harris
The Quoybirse StonePoem by Lydia Harris
You’re Breaking UpPoem by Mareth Burns
He, For One, Did Not Need the Blood of Those Who Loved HimStory by Kevin MacNeil
The Museum of LossStory by Peter Davidson
CarvedPoem by Patricia McCaw
A possible KerouacPoem by Deborah Moffatt
The TurnPoem by Deborah Moffatt
The BridePoem by Deborah Moffatt
Saints of Central StationPoem by Marion McCready
A Rainbow Kneels on the Shoulders of Dun na CuaichePoem by Marion McCready
LockdownPoem by Marion McCready
MRIStory by Ian Tallach
The LiftPoem by Howard Wright
The Borrowed DaysPoem by Jennifer Morag Henderson
The Daft DaysPoem by Jennifer Morag Henderson
Fresh-Landed, CopenhagenPoem by Robert Alan Jamieson
Reynisfjara Poem by Kevin McGowan
Latvian FallPoem by Kevin McGowan
Four poems bringing my Mexican family across the Atlantic Ocean to ScotlandPoem by Matthew del Valle
What is it Like to be Alive?Essay by Chris Arthur
To the Mother & Child in Orbit by Grand DesignPoem by Molly Vogel
The ShepherdessPoem by Molly Vogel
Two Lockdown TalesStory by Kevin Crowe
Seed TimeStory by Amanda Gilmour
The Crimson RiverStory by Linda Blackwood
A Glass DarklyPoem by Donald Goodbrand Saunders
Balquhidder, Blessing of AngusPoem by Donald Goodbrand Saunders
Donald Mackay – An AppreciationArticle by Willie Hershaw
Beyond the Split StanePoem by Donald Mackay
Seeing ScotlandPoem by Donald Mackay
The MasterPoem by Donald Mackay
ThesesPoem by Donald Mackay
CrashPoem by Donald Mackay
At the BallPoem by Donald Mackay
The BeastPoem by Donald Mackay
The VestigiumPoem by Donald Mackay
The BookPoem by Donald Mackay
SS Great BritainPoem by Donald Mackay
APoem by Donald Mackay
To the Year's EndPoem by Donald Mackay
The Writer, the Island and the InspirationEssay by Linda Cracknell
Tiger-manPoem by Suria Tei
BananagramsPoem by Suria Tei
Hai-land-kuPoem by Colin Bramwell
Your WishPoem by Colin Bramwell
TonightPoem by Colin Bramwell
Deep ClosePoem by Colin Bramwell
Highland CathedralPoem by Larissa Reid
Depth SounderPoem by Larissa Reid
SunwiseStory by Ian Stephen
VoicePoem by Seth Crook
Yoga by ZoomPoem by Seth Crook
oyster sonnetPoem by Issy Thompson
Help WantedStory by Alistair Lawrie
The Green MusePoem by Tristan ap Rheinnalt
The BothyPoem by Romany Garnett
Sheela Na Gig, RodelPoem by Lynn Valentine
The CleanersPoem by Lynn Valentine
WitnessPoem by Lynn Valentine
Soon AwaPoem by Edith Harper
LegacyPoem by Edith Harper
WheelbarrowPoem by Sharon Black
IncubationStory by Aoife Wren
A LifePoem by Jenny Fothergill
Dry Eyes of Frozen FishesStory by Ngan Nguyen
Black Bob – Dandy Wonder DogPoem by Julian Colton
Sartorial EvidenceStory by Jennifer Henderson
Fish-ManStory by Evan Marsco
The Quarant by Graham BullenReview by Cynthia Rogerson
D by Michel FaberReview by Cynthia Rogerson
Productive DoubtsReview by Ian Stephen
ReviewsReview by Beth McDonough
‘the unfinished hut’ Gerry LooseReview by Ian Stephen
Arrivals of Light by Robin Fulton MacphersonReview by Chris Powici
The Nine Mothers of Heimdallr by Miriam Nash with artwork by Christina Edlund-PlaterReview by Chris Powici
Leaving Camustianavaig by John BeatonReview by Anne MacLeod
Morgan & Me - A Memoir by Hamish WhyteReview by Anne MacLeod
Rehearsals for the Real World by Robin Lindsay Wilson Review by Shane Strachan
Mother, Nature, Aoife Lyall Review by Alice Tarbuck
Four ReviewsReview by Richie McCaffery
Cainnt na CreigePoem by Alasdair Caimbeul
Beinn EadarraPoem by Alasdair Caimbeul
PoetryPoem by Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul
Rudan Do-chreidsinn a thachairStory by Maoilios Caimbeul
Beannachd na Banachdaich Poem by Sandaidh Nicdhòmhnaill Jones
A’ cheist agam - sa chànan eilePoem by Sandaidh Nicdhòmhnaill Jones
Ciad Cheumannan Fo GhlaisPoem by Màrtainn Mac an t-Saoir
Chualas do ghuth sa bhalbhachd Poem by Màrtainn Mac an t-Saoir
SlànachadhPoem by Màrtainn Mac an t-Saoir
PlutoPoem by Pàdraig Macaoidh
ceasnachadh na gaoithePoem by Iain S Mac a’ phearsain
seann chleòcPoem by Iain S Mac a’ phearsain
Dàin aig Àm a’ GhalairPoem by Iain S Mac a’ phearsain
smodal bhreugPoem by Iain S Mac a’ phearsain
Mostra di Su BenatzuPoem by Iain S Mac a’ phearsain
Eagrasan/EkphrasesPoem by Crìsdean Macillebhàin
BlasPoem by Iain Urchardan
Ron Beard Interviews Leonie CharltonAudio by Ron Beard and Leonie Charlton
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