Owersettin by A C Clarke, Maggie Rabatski and Sheila Templeton

There is a poetry group in the village that meets once a month, led by my friend Ruth. We meet to share poetry we enjoy and some of us write poetry too. Occassionally, Ruth calls upon her wide variety of poet friends to come along and read some of their work to us. Last month, Maggie Rabatski and Sheila Templeton joined us and read from the new book they have published with A.C.Clarke, Owersettin. Owersettin is a Scots word meaning to say in another way or translate. owersettin a-c-clarke

AC Clarke’s collections include A Natural Curiosity (New Voices Press), which was inspired by the Glasgow Anatomy Museum and short-listed for the 2012 Callum Macdonald award; and Fr Meslier’s Confession, about the atheist priest Jean Meslier (Oversteps Books). She is a member of Scottish PEN and has won several prizes, including the Petra Kenney Poetry Competition and the Second Light Long Poem competition. She was longlisted for the 2014 National Poetry Competition. Her latest collection is In the Margin, published owersettin maggie-rabatski-2by Cinnamon Press 2015.

Maggie Rabatski is Hebridean by birth and upbringing but has lived in Glasgow for many years. Her first poetry pamphlet Down From The Dance/An Dèidh an Dannsa was short-listed for the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year in 2011. Her second, Holding, was short-listed for the 2013 Callum MacDonald Award. Both collections are published by New Voices Press. Her poem Sacrifice/Ìobairt was chosen as one of the SPL’s ‘Best Scottish Poems’ in 2012’. She writes in both Gaelic and English.owersettin sheila-with-mclellan-trophy-troon

Sheila Templeton is originally from Aberdeenshire and writes in both Scots and English. She is well published in magazines and anthologies and has won several prizes, including the McCash Scots Language Poetry Award… twice… and the McLellan Poetry Prize. Her previous collections are Slow Road Home, published by Makar Press 2004; Digging For Light, published by New Voices Press 2011; and Tender Is The North, published by Red Squirrel Press 2013.

Owersettin-catalogueThe concept of the book is that each of the poets wrote poems in their native language and the other two wrote translations or responses to these poems in their native languages. Ann Clarke hails from London and writes in English. Maggie Rabatski comes from Harris and writes in Gaelic, while Sheila grew up in Aberdeenshire speaking the Doric dialect of Scots.

For me, the poems between Maggie and Sheila worked best as they seemed to be closer to the poems each had written. Ann Clark wrote responses to the poems of the others that were too far from the originals for me to justify their inclusion in the book. Her poems are excellent, they just did not ring true as ‘owersettin’ of other works. They were completely different poems.

Having said that, I really enjoyed the reading and the poems in Owersettin are inspired. I highly recommend this little jewel of Scottish poetry.

Valerie Penny


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