Published by Bloodaxe Books
Two Countries is a book of poems about place: about landscape, community, and the shifting, provisional relations between them. Born in Scotland, Katrina Porteous grew up in North-East England. These poems explore the ambiguities of borderlands, from the Roman Wall to the present-day Anglo-Scottish Border, and the ‘debatable lands’ between tradition and modernity, real and ideal, country and town, ‘nature’ and ‘culture’.
Katrina Porteous’s poetry reaches far beyond the local. Two Countries is organised around a selection of her radio work, poems of many voices, drawing on Border Ballad and Northumbrian story-telling and song, and often rooted in direct oral testimony. Among the most remarkable are the dialect voices of Northumbrian fishermen, and the words of hill farmers caught up in the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic.