THE WORKS of eight poets from Shetland and Orkney will be read to the public at Shetland Museum on Friday 25th July before being abandoned to the winds and tides of the North Sea.
The project is the brainchild of sculptor John Cumming, a Burra man living in Stromness, and is aimed primarily at increasing dialogue across the literary and visual arts in the Northern Isles. It was inspired by the traditional “mailboat” used by communities such as Foula and St Kilda.
Eight poets and eight visual artists were recruited across Shetland and Orkney to participate in the venture. The visual artists made “mailboats” to contain the poems, while the poets were charged with making a message to be carried to an unknown and unseen audience.
Taking part from Shetland were writers James Sinclair, Laureen Johnson, Jim Mainland and Mark Smith together with artists Roxane Permar, Mike Finnie, Jo Jack and John Hunter.
Orkney writers were Morag MacInnes, John Aberdein, Alison Flett and Yvonne Gray, working with artists John Cumming, Frances Pelly, Laura Drever and Colin Kirkpatrick.
The poems were read in Orkney in Stromness Academy and the mailboats exhibited at Orquil Gallery, Rendall.
The Shetland reading, where Orkney poets will also read, begins at 7pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.
All the mailboats and poems will be shown in the museum between 25th and 29th July before being launched to sea at Skerries sometime in early August.