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Voluntary Action Shetland

Issue Number 262 - Yule 2012

The New Shetlander cover issue 262

The Yule New Shetlander, Number 262, is accompanied by a new Stella Sutherland CD, Aa my selves. The CD is a celebration of the work of one of Shetland’s best poets: a compilation of poems and stories, on archive tracks and new recordings, read by Stella and friends. It includes two songs by Stella and her daughter Elizabeth, recorded by Tom Anderson at a musical gathering in Bressay. A track list appears in the centre pages of the magazine, together with Karen Eunson’s fine summary of Stella’s life and work.

Short stories often seem to be to the fore in the Yule magazine, and this issue is no exception. Mark Ryan Smith writes The last dance, a thoughtful, warm picture of a father on his daughter’s wedding day. Spangles, by Willa Kate, recreates another family picture in careful detail, at the time of a childhood Up Helly Aa. Annie Broon, a new name in the New Shetlander, takes us back to the days of the construction of Sullom Voe Terminal, a period which has acquired its own legends and folklore; the story A gaa afore da sun brings the time and (certain elements of) the place to rollicking life. Derick Herning relates the hilarious A true tale aboot CND an a kolkhoz. There are also stories from the junior Young Writers of 2012, who shared the prize for the age group 7-12. Merran Thompson, who also won the Young Dialect Writer prize, contributes the amusing Erty an da Diving Board, while Ming Sandford’s Rat’s tales is a fantasy tale set in New York.

The editorial is concerned about the potential results of cuts in public spending.

Wendy Gear has researched The loss of the Hunter, in 1874. She describes the aftermath of the shipwreck in Yell, where a variety of valuable cargo was washed ashore and retrieved by locals – arrests and court cases being the result. Glenn Bard writes A Northern Narrative: the 1818 Polar expedition in Shetland, recounting the background to the scientific expedition and the visit of its four Royal Navy vessels to Lerwick. A list of scientific equipment carried by the ships is included in the notes.

‘Edges and Extremes’ in Shetland, is an account of a recent collaborative arts project in Scalloway by visual artist Sally Booth and writer Evlynn Sharp. It pays tribute to the support they received in Scalloway. Poems by Sharp and artwork by Booth are featured.

Angus Johnson, meanwhile, has been inspired by a saying often heard in Shetland at one time, ‘If only we’d been laek Faroe’, and his short article is ‘a whimsical look at population data’. Da wadder eye muses on the reaction of the public to art and trends in art, while Bruce Eunson’s It’s me or the dialect is a an honest response to some of the challenges facing the modern dialect writer, among all the changing speech patterns we hear around us, and may, indeed, use.

There is a good selection of poems, including two by award-winning Australian poet Ron Pretty, who appeared at Wordplay in September; Peter Ratter’s prize-winning poem inspired by a Goya picture; and Cavy Johnson’s poetic reaction to a current literary phenomenon. Book reviews feature as usual. The colourful cover, Shetland Seascape by Millie Jarmson, is from the recent Shetland schools art exhibition.

The New Shetlander is priced at £2.50, and is now on sale.

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