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 Parallèles, 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 of 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.

Recorded in Edinburgh on Oct 31st 2016.

Christine De Luca’s Favourite Poetry Quotes and Sayings

‘It's the sound acoustic
the lineation
the tiny adjustments of rhyme’

– Robert Crawford

‘[Poetry is] prose with blood pressure.’ – Dylan Thomas

‘Poetry is language on pointes.’ – Craig Raine

Parallel Worlds, Luath Press, 10/01/2005

Buy

North End of Eden, Luath Press, 04/01/2010

Buy

A Shetland Anthology, Shetland Pub, 1998

Buy

Havera, the story of an island, Shetland Amenity...

Plain Song, The Shetland Library, 01/01/2002

Wast wi da Valkyries, The Shetland Library, 10/01/...

Dat Trickster Sun, Mariscat Press, 05/30/2014

Prizes

Shetland Literary Prize 1995, for Voes & Sounds

Shetland Literary Prize 1998, for Wast wi da Valkyries

Prix du Livre Insulaire (Poésie) 2008, for Mondes Parallèles

Michael Marks Award Shortlist 2014, for Dat Trickster Sun

Recordings

Christine De Luca Downloads

1a 14th way of looking at a blackbird

£0.89

2At Sixty

£0.89

3Avoirdupois

£0.89

4Baffled

£0.89

5Blur

£0.89

6Dat Trickster Sun

£0.89

7Discontinuity

£0.89

8Disorientation

£0.89

9Downhill

£0.89

10Edinburgh gifts

£0.89

11Edinburgh volte face

£0.89

12Free Movement

£0.89

13Getting to know you

£0.89

14Grizdale in Spring

£0.89

15Into The Ordinary Day

£0.89

16Journey

£0.89

17Kunyu Quantu - A Map of the Whole World

£0.89

18Light Show at the Botanics

£0.89

19Love in a caald climate

£0.89

20Lustre

£0.89

21Meeting Vulcan

£0.89

22On the death of my mother at midsummer

£0.89

23Ritual Cleansing

£0.89

24Sang o da makker

£0.89

25Sang on laevin

£0.89

26Severed

£0.89

27Signs and wonders

£0.89

28Sisters

£0.89

29Snow Dance

£0.89

30Soondscapes

£0.89

31Spelling it out

£0.89

32Still being

£0.89

33Streams in the desert

£0.89

34The Boy in the man

£0.89

35The White Heather Club

£0.89

36Tievin wir metadata

£0.89

37Tree Frog

£0.89

38Upbeat @ Seventy

£0.89

39What's in a name

£0.89

Books by Christine De Luca