Jim Mainland introduces a new anthology of radical poetry from Culture Matters
What is radical poetry? And can it change anything?
The poems in ‘Almarks’ are radical in different ways. Some are explicitly political in content, while others are more indirectly observational and personal. Some are radical in style and approach, such as in their use of Shetland dialect.
They all strike an attitude, ignoring and breaking boundaries, and so are like almarks – the Shetland word for sheep that jump over or break through fences and walls. They are thrawn, awkward, headstrong and independent.
The poets in ‘Almarks’ certainly hope their poems can help change people. Through enjoyably deploying their literary skill with lyricism, cogent argument, subtle humour, striking imagery and appropriate formal inventiveness, they hope these poems will raise our consciousness, deepen our solidarity, make us think and question the world around us – and change it for the better.
In these strange and uncertain times, the need for these radical, committed voices is greater than ever.
Almarks: An Anthology of Radical Poetry from Shetland, edited by Jim Mainland and Mark Ryan Smith, 64 pps. ISBN: 978-1-912710-20-1
Price: £8 plus £3 p. and p.
Jim Mainland is a graduate of Aberdeen University and until his recent retirement was Principal Teacher of English at Brae High School, Shetland.