Bards’ work to appear on da street

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Five of the successful Bards launch their poetry posters at the Visit Shetland shop. Back (from left): Morag Nicolson from Shetland Library; Shetland Forwirds mascot Dratsi; Bards Barbara Fraser and Lesley Leslie and Steve Mathieson from Living Lerwick. Front: Bards F.J. Lindsay, Anna Sutherland and James Sinclair.

Five of the successful Bards launch their poetry posters at the Visit Shetland shop. Back (from left): Morag Nicolson from Shetland Library; Shetland Forwirds mascot Dratsi; Bards Barbara Fraser and Lesley Leslie and Steve Mathieson from Living Lerwick.
Front: Bards F.J. Lindsay, Anna Sutherland and James Sinclair.

Shoppers on Commercial Street will soon be able to enjoy a peerie poem or two thanks to a new celebration of Shetland dialect.

Shetland Library has joined forces with Living Lerwick and dialect promotion group Shetland ForWirds to launch the most recent poems from its popular Bards project.

The Bards on Da Street competition ran from October to December and this week 12 poems were chosen.

All are written in dialect to celebrate the Year of Shetland Dialect – a series of events held throughout 2014 to promote the local tongue.

Businesses on Commercial Street donated prizes for the top three poems, with first prize going to Barbara Fraser for her piece Meeting in a Wast Highland Cemetery.

The poems will be made into posters and displayed in shop windows, as well as being posted on the Shetland Library and Living Lerwick websites. The 12 selected poems will be published in The Shetland Times over the next few weeks.

Later in the year they will again feature in toilets for people to read.

Morag Nicolson from Shetland Library said: “Bards is much appreciated by poets and the public.

“I think a project like this is a very good way to bring poetry out into public spaces and grab folk’s attention.

“It’s good to see that dialect writing is so popular and of such a high standard.”

Leigh-Ann McGinty from Living Lerwick added: “Living Lerwick is pleased to be part of the Shetland dialect celebrations.

“The town centre businesses have donated some really great prizes for the winners.

“This supports the promotion of Shetland’s unique dialect and culture, as well as demonstrating the variety of products that people can buy locally.

“We are looking forward to displaying the poems along Commercial Street for everyone to enjoy and hopefully encourage others to take up dialect writing.”

Entries were judged by a panel from Shetland ForWirds, starting a busy year of activities and events for the group.

Committee member Laureen Johnson said: “Wir been delighted ta gie a haand wi dis competition. It’s been encouragin ta see da response, an da standard o writin. Whit a great wye ta start da Year o Shetland Dialect.”

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