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Voluntary Action Shetland

Issue 292 - Simmer 2020

The Simmer issue of the New Shetlander is now on sale. Price £3.

The main article, What’s in a name? was written by Bronwen J. Cohen, who has been researching the naming of Fair Isle knitwear and textile patterns in various parts of the world. Beginning with Whalsay, where she lived for a time in the 1970s, she goes on to include the naming of patterns in Selbu (Norway), Dumfriesshire, Alabama, Peru and West Africa, with many examples in the excellent photographs.

 cres of print are written every day about the current US President, but Barbara Fraser’s story in this issue appears to reveal a remarkable and hitherto little-known episode in his career. It involves, among other things, some Shetland yowes, Airforce One and Barbara herself. Or was it an …American dream?

Jim Mainland’s poem Venture, displayed across two pages, will repay study. Inspired by the summer 1965 herring fishing diary kept by Jeemie Cumming, skipper of the fishing boat Venture, it is based on quotes from that diary. In effect, we hear the skipper’s voice, and a roll-call of boat names, while the unusual shapes of the poem suggest different aspects of life on the sea.

Jean Urquhart’s Wadder eye takes a hard look at coronavirus and how the pandemic has been managed. She is concerned about what may happen in this country after lockdown is over. 

Local history features strongly. In A winter’s tale, Catherine Emslie has researched a tragic story from Burra. A snowy story by Ivor Wood of Muckle Roe, has been handed down through generations. Willie Thompson, who as a child was a frequent visitor to North Roe, writes about Community conflict – a situation not unknown in Shetland. Laughton Johnston continues to write about our seafaring men of the past; here he contributes Steam versus sail in the 1880s. The title does not reveal the highly dramatic content of the article, which includes an almost incredible incident on a sailing vessel in a fierce storm.

David Hutchison’s short fictional story The sixern is also set in the past and has something of a twist in the tale. A wide range of subjects and styles of poetry are to be found in No 292, by poets familiar and new.

There are book reviews, also a review article, by Kathy Hubbard, about Christine De Luca’s new poetry collection, Northern Alchemy. The book provides English translations alongside the original poems in Shetland dialect.

Of the twenty contributors to this issue, four are new, and three of those are from outwith Shetland. The editorial traces the history of the New Shetlander, and looks at its situation now.


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