Polygon New Poets
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Moder Dy refers to an undercurrent believed to run east from Foula, taking Shetland fishermen back home. No islander today would know how to “read” the sea surgace in order to latch onto it, and despite the testimony of past generations of fisherfolk there is no conclusive scientific proof that it exists. As a metaphor for the impulse behind Watt’s poetry, though – a half-remembered undercurrent pulling one back home – it’s just about perfect
Watt’s poetry has a strength, suppleness and economy that Morgan himself would have welcomed. It has the rich sparseness of haiku
The Bottle Imp (Best Scottish Books, 2019)
Held me in thrall. Watt writes in English and in Shetlandic dialect, providing her own translations of the latter, bringing levity and precision to both
The New Statesman
An atmospheric offering from the Northern Isles
Herald Poem of the Day
‘Not only are wildlife and landscape, weather and ocean treated with a buoyant sensibility, but there is an emotional sensitivity too’
The Wee Review
This collection of work – bold, compassionate, life-affirming – underlines Watt’s role as one of the most significant young voices not just in Shetland but in Scotland at large. … This bonny book has never been far from by hand since I acquired it… I should probably order another cover now
Extraordinarily intricate and multi-layered. An exercise in linguistic navigation. Unputdownable
I really can't overstate just how damn good I think this collection is, how rich it is, or how much I want everybody I know to read it. I am absolutely in awe of what Roseanne Watt has done here, hers is a voice to follow
Desperate Reader blog
This is a celebration of language, place, and the mystery of being alive
A shimmering, unforgettable collection
an incredible work of poetics, social history, and translation, …all happening before our eyes
this collection is beautiful and profound from start to finish and explores the land, heart and soul of Roseanne’s home, Shetland
Her smouldering, susurrus tones ensure these poems crackle into the ears like the best sounding bonfires
About the Book
Winner of an Eric Gregory Award, 2020
Winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, 2020
‘The old Shetland fishermen still speak with something like reverence of the forgotten art of steering by the moder dy (mother wave), the name given to an underswell which it is said always travels in the direction of home’
Written in English, interspersed with Shetlandic dialect throughout, this eagerly awaited debut collection from Shetland poet Roseanne Watt contains profound, assured and wilfully spare poems that are built from the sight, sound and heartbeat of the land as much as from the sea. In rigorously controlled, concise, and vivid language Watt offers glimpses of the landscape alongside which we find the most complex and mysterious of human experiences.
Roseanne Watt is 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 was also shortlisted for the 2019 Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year Award. She lives and works between Edinburgh and Shetland.
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