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New Shetlander - Yule 2006

Issue 238 - Yule 2006

The New Shetlander 238 is chock-full of poetry, especially the dialect poetry in which the magazine has always specialised.  Laureen Johnson's "Mack a cradle string", for instance, is a masterpiece.  Donald Murray, Lise Sinclair and Jeemie Mainland contribute good new work and Eileen Brooke-Freeman introduces the 2006 Shetland Arts and New Shetlander Writing prize-winners.  The topic this year was place names, and Christine De Luca and Tom Childs rose to the occasion.

Mark Ryan Smith makes the point, in a trenchant review, that Shetland produces far more poetry than prose.  For this issue,  John Cumming has produced a fine dialect story, "Jeemie", based in the world of school, and Willa Kate brings to life Scalloway in the fifties, in "Fetching the errands".  But Shetland still awaits its first great novel.

There is the usual crop of essays on diverse subjects.  Paul Bloomer discusses the art of Jimmy Thomason, with illustrations; and Linda Riddell looks at the way novelists have dealt with Up Helly Aa, since L.A. Knights' appalling Viking Feast Mystery of 1951.  Angela Fraser gives a lively account of the Unst Peerie Knitters' trip to the Highland Show in June 2006.

Banks Broo is in combative form in Da Wadder Eye, touching on the Stern report (as does the editorial), and on Shetland's foray into spirit manufacture. There is a transcript of Ronnie Gurr's talk on "Music, culture and value", delivered at the launch of the new Shetland Music website.

Ian Tait writes at length about the Shetland grice that has just been recreated for the Shetland Museum.  Drawing on accounts from past centuries, he describes the appearance and habits of the fierce little brute.  Ian also presents a fine collection of photographs by Peter Halcrow, taken in his native Cunningsburgh around 1900.

There is a striking cover photograph by Billy Fox from the recent guitar exhibition at the Bonhoga Gallery.


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