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Yule 2007 - Issue 242
Yule 2007 - Issue 242

242 - Yule 2007

The 242nd New Shetlander has just appeared. As usual, it is full of high quality material. Karen Eunson reviews the new collection of Jack Renwick's poems - without doubt the most gorgeous poetry book ever produced in Shetland - with enthusiasm. TheNew Shetlander has always specialised in verse, and the current number has some fine examples: Laughton Johnston's 'Snapshots from a year at Snarraness', for instance, and Christine De Luca's 'Swallows for steynshakkers' (illustrated). Christie Williamson presents three poems, two of them translations from Lorca, and the third a runner-up in a recent competitition.

 

   Andrew Jennings of Yealtaland Books, who has recently been provoking a few Gaelic enthusiasts in the Shetland Times, writes about the puzzling place name Funzie. One of his suggestions is very interesting: he hazards a guess that it might derive from an Old Norse word meaning "a place to look for, steer for, or head for". Funzie was traditionally the first Shetland landfall for the first Vikings, and Jennings's proposal is very intriguing.

 

   There are more contributions to the Shetland dialect debate. Brian Burgess discusses dialect vocabulary loss, and Derick Herning contributes some notes about knappin.

 

   On several occasions wags have called the New Shetlander the Old Shetlander, because of the quantity of antiquarian material in it. This time Angus Johnson writes about James Innes junior, "a quadroon slave boy" who came to Shetland around 1800 to live with Thomas Bolt. Innes was a "smart, clever boy", but we don't know what happened to him. Ian Tait excavates the history of the Tingwall Fox Farm, and other short-lived Shetland enterprises of last century.

 

   An interesting new historical source turns out be the register of the South Shields Navigation Department, found by Keith Gregson in the Tyne and Wear Archives. Dozens of Shetlanders studied there in the 1830s and 1840s, and Gregson presents their names and other details. Alan Blain and Jimmy Moncrieff speculate about the Romans, and whether they might have come here in the fourth century.

 

   Janet Williamson writes lovingly about a bannock and mutton supper, and Brian Spence about a volcano that he visited in New Zealand. Phyllis Hunter's Wadder Eye is fixed on the prime minister, the SNP and the striking posties.

 

   Jim Mainland has edited for publication research by the now notorious Julian Bovey-Tracey, whoi has spent several years researching the use of Shetland place names by authors such as Henry James and Hardy. Recent sharp exchanges in the Times Literary Supplement may make us wary about some of Bovey-Tracey's conclusions - and that is an understatement.

 

   There is the usual large review section.

 

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