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New Shetlander - 283 Voar 2018

Cover 283 Voar 2018

The latest New Shetlander leads with selected writing by the late Alex Cluness, including two of his best short stories, ‘King of the dogs’ and ‘Pianoforte’. Alex, a driving force in Shetland literature before he left the isles, was a long-serving New Shetlander committee member and joint editor of the magazine for four years. The editorial pays tribute.

There are three more short stories. Two of John Cumming’s perceptive tales, ‘Skeetiploot’ and ‘Matthew’, focus quietly but vividly on the poignancy – and the horror – which sometimes feature in everyday routine life. A newcomer to the magazine, Sally Huband, writes of environmental dangers, in ‘Sea cave’.

 John Haswell, director of Shetland Youth Theatre, has contributed ‘Anything but futile: celebrating the war poetry of Jack Peterson’.  John became very interested in Peterson’s war poems while looking for Youth Theatre material on the subject of the First World War. He explains what attracts him about Peterson’s work, and how it became the heart of the 2017 production In the Still of the Night have we Wept.

Barbara Fraser’s ‘Wadder eye’ is forthright and engaging on various subjects, including suggestions for how to free up land for budding gardeners and horticulture. 

Robert Sim recently took a job for a year in the former Soviet republic of Kazahkstan, and found it a lively and fascinating place. His article reflects on the experience. Audrey Beaudouin, of the University of Rennes 2, explains the reasons for her choice of subject of study, in ‘Why the Shetland Islands’.

Two essays are re-published here from The Shetland Times of 1887. They give accounts of a remarkable school teacher in Lerwick, John George Glass, who died in 1854. The essays are by former pupils. They deal especially with the man himself, who was held in great esteem, but also reflect something of his educational methods, and how he transformed the musical life of Lerwick at the time.

Michael Goodlad has transcribed two more Shetland-connected letters from 1830, and explains their background. One concerns an estate in Jamaica, and the other the Scalloway area.

There is a range of poetry as usual. Jim Mainland reviews a collection of Norwegian translations of poems by Christine De Luca. The magazine cover photograph is by Stephen Christie.

The New Shetlander is now on sale and costs £2.

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