Best Scottish Poems 2019

Each year the Scottish Poetry Library create an online anthology of the 20 Best Scottish Poems that have appeared in books, pamphlets and literary magazines in the past twelve months. Previous guest editors have included: Roddy Woomble, Roddy Lumsden, Janice Galloway, Zoë Strachan, Louise Welsh.

This year it is to be edited by Roseanne Watt, a poet, filmmaker and musician from Shetland. She is currently poetry editor for The Island Review and was the winner of the 2015 Outspoken Poetry Prize (Poetry in Film) and runner-up in the 2018 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. In 2018, her debut collection Moder Dy won the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award; Moder Dy.

But for the first time, Best Scottish Poems will have Gaelic and Scots editors too.  The Gaelic language editor will be Niall O’Gallagher. The Scots language editor is Derek Ross. They will each choose two poems in addition to Watt’s shortlist, showcasing poems written in Gaelic and Scots.

Niall is poetry editor of the Gaelic journal STEALL. In 2019 he was named Bàrd Baile Ghlaschu, the city of Glasgow’s first Gaelic laureate. Derek Ross’s poetry in Scots have been featured by The Scots Language Centre, The Scottish Poetry Library, Scots podcasts, The Stanza Poetry Map of Scotland and the Channel 4 program Haud Yer Tongue.

The Best Scottish Poems 2019 will be published in the Spring.

Here below is Roseanne Watt’s filmpoem “Sullom”.

She has said: “This filmpoem was completed as part of my university MLitt project, ‘Maps and Alignment’, which explored ideas surrounding the connection of self and place. This piece charts my own feelings on growing up during Shetland’s ‘golden era’ of oil, and its almost visceral presence in the landscape of my home and life there.”

Comments (4)

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  1. james gourlay says:

    The music is a bit too loud! It makes it difficult for me to properly hear the words.

  2. Bill Nolan says:

    I found the visual images, music and forced tempo of the delivery quite distracting and would have preferred to let the words convey the poet’s message. In poetry reading, simplicity without distractions allows the reader to interpret the meaning but this style of presentation denies people that opportunity. Where can I read the words and set the tempo for myself? I only ask to be allowed to interpret this poem for myself and am sure that I’m not alone in this.

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @Bill Nolan, @james gourlay that is such a common request that I wonder why calls to separate out audio channels have fallen on deaf ears. I even took this up with my local MP (not heard back) and raised it through technical bodies as an accessibility issue. There are many computer games, for example, where the player can independently set the volume on multi-channel audio, for example Minecraft, so why not broadcast and web video?

      Essentially, the approach is called Object Based Audio, which takes various forms, but it can mean separating out vocal from music and background noise and offering these as separate channels (multi-channel audio). As always, the technology standardization process will have its difficulties, and what works for the web may have slightly different implications for broadcast. Nevertheless, the power it can bring to the listener could be life-changing, if they can choose to dampen down noise that interferes with hearing speech clearly. And it makes it easier to substitute a different vocal track (choosing between English, Scots and Gaelic language options, say, for the same video).

      I am sure that Bella could organize some kind of campaign. I notice UK Parliament petitions are down in preparation for the election, but I am sure there are channels to exploit. Whether we like it or not, the most effective route will almost certainly be through the BBC (who are apparently taking a lead on it, yay for socialism!). My interest is also in who is objecting to this. If music and other sound effects are being used to manipulate people through media (if!) then the manipulators and their paymasters are going to be unhappy if people can turn those down without losing the more informative audio.

  3. Anna says:

    I can’t make out the words either because of the loud music. Pity.

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