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Dunstanburgh

Authors: Katrina Porteous

Published by Smokestack Books

ISBN: 9780954869113

£5.99
- +
An epic of the wild Northumbrian coast, invoking history, myth and memory. First broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

No road leads to Dunstanburgh Castle; but over the course of a year Katrina Porteous, who lives within sight of this lonely Northumbrian ruin, visited it in all weathers, minutely observing its seasonal changes. The result is this poem, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in February 2004. Dunstanburgh draws on the local legend of a child trapped in the rock and of the Seeker who must search for her; on the memory of raids by Scots reivers; and on the political ideal of 'good lordship' which the castle was built to embody. Using chants, dialect and the wild music of the castle itself - kittiwakes, skylarks, swallows, waves, wind and rain - the poem evokes the secret history, human and natural, of this mysterious, windswept place.

"A rugged, powerful epic poem" - The Sunday Times

"a musical score for voices and natural sounds... a recording to be heard through the eyes. Katrina Porteous is probably one of the most exciting musicians around at the moment." - Oz Hardwick, Aesthetica

"I wish I'd heard the broadcast." - The Crack

"an epic, both in scale and effect... succeeds entirely in conjuring a wall of noise, layered and merging... filmic, acutely visual... it's a rare pleasure to be able to read about one's homeland and recognise it so clearly" - Paul Summers, Dreamcatcher

"History as lifeblood... not as ghosts, but as part of the earth and of us." - Julia Copus

"This 'radio poem' gets the ruins to sing." - Other Poetry

Katrina Porteous' books include: The Lost Music(Bloodaxe 1996), The Wund an' the Wetter (CD with piper Chris Ormston, Iron Press 1999) and The Bonny Fisher Lad (The People's History 2003).

"One of the most exciting talents of the North East" - The Times

"A poet with an ear that few can match" - Sean O' Brien



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