Christine De Luca
'Out of this zany dark and ice we will carry/longing and the sun in our eyes forever.' Christine De Luca, Light Show at the Botanics
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About Christine De Luca
Scottish poet and novelist Christine De Luca was born and raised in Shetland. She writes in both English and Shetland Dialect, the latter a form of Old Scots with much Norse influence. For the past five decades, De Luca has lived in Edinburgh, where in 2014 she was appointed the city’s fourth Makar – a Scottish honour akin to Poet Laureate. She is the author of five poetry collections, including two Luath Press books, Parallel Worlds (2005) and North End of Eden (2010), and, most recently, the pamphlet Dat Trickster Sun (Mariscat Press, 2014), which was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets. De Luca’s poems have been selected four times for the Best Scottish Poems of the Year by The Scottish Poetry Library (in 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2015), but her outlook as a poet is international: a bilingual edition of her poems, Mondes Paralles, was published in France in 2007, winning her the 2008 Prix du Livre Insulaire; Dat Trickster Sun was published in a bilingual edition in Italy in 2015.
‘Makar’ translates as ‘one who fashions, constructs, produces, prepares’, a description that perfectly suits the collaborative, outward-looking and translation-based aspects of De Luca’s oeuvre. Her poems have been set to jazz and folk music and used as the basis for innovative art projects, with the help on an intermediary, Kyra Pollitt, she was able to translate the work of deaf poet, Gary Quinn, from British Sign Language to English and Shetland Dialect. Another recent collaboration with musician Catriona MacDonald saw De Luca rendering passages from the ancient texts of Finnish mythology into Shetlandic for live performance.
The close relationship between De Luca’s poetry and music is evident in these recordings, where the lyric inflections of her reading voice are plain to hear. In poems such as ‘Sang o da makker’ – at once an ode to the process of making or ‘makkin’ a knitted garment, and a song of romantic devotion – an inherent musicality is further enhanced by the sonic qualities of the Shetlandic: ‘Naeboady ‘ll ivver ken/whaar da sems is;/whaar du begins,/whaar I end’.
De Luca’s succinct, welcoming introductions to these recordings show a lightness of touch that extends to her reading of the poems themselves, and to their handling of content. Engaging directly with Scottish and Shetlandic cultures and customs, her work is at once accessible and deeply personal.
Christine De Luca’s Favourite Poetry Quotes and Sayings
‘It’s the sound acoustic
the tiny adjustments of rhyme’
– Robert Crawford
‘[Poetry is] prose with blood pressure.’ – Dylan Thomas
‘Poetry is language on pointes.’ – Craig Raine
Recorded in Edinburgh on Oct 31st 2016.
Poems by Christine De Luca
Light Show at the Botanics - Christine De Luca
Featured in the Archive
Books by Christine De Luca
Shetland Literary Prize, for Voce and Sounds
Shetland Literary Prize for ' Wast Wi Da Valkyries
International Book Fair in Ouessant, poetry prize, for Parallel Worlds , poems translated from English and Shetlandic
2014 - 17