Geopoetics News December 2020

I hope you’re well and keeping safe.

Stravaig #9

Please consider sending us your prose/essays, poems, images and artwork about Geopoetics generally and on the theme a sense of place, of belonging to a place and memories of place – duthchas in Gaelic.

Deadline: Friday 31 January 2021

These can be previously published except for the essays. If you submitted work for Stravaig#8 you do not need to submit it again. Please email them to <>. Note change of e-mail address.

Rebirth 3 by Norman Bissell from Stravaig #8


  • Essays/prose must be under 4,000 words attached as a separate Word document. We cannot accept PDFs. Up to 6 images (jpegs only) to accompany them are very welcome.
  • Up to 3 poems attached as a separate Word document (3 pages max) may be submitted. No PDFs will be accepted.
  • Up to 4 images and artwork (4 pages max) should be submitted as jpeg attachments, no bigger than 2 MB in the first instance.
  • A mini-bio in a Word document (maximum 90 words) should accompany your submission.
  • All submissions should be titled with author’s/artist’s name and title of piece. Eg. [Your Name]_[Title of Piece].

We regret that submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines cannot be considered and that we are unable to pay contributors.

The editors are Norman Bissell, Ullrich Kockel, Callum Sutherland, Caroline Watson and James Murray-White. Their decision is final on all submissions.

If you haven’t heard back from us by 1 June 2021, you should assume that your submission has not been successful on this occasion. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to notify everyone who submits their work or give feedback on it but we do read all work submitted.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ISSUE 8

White Relief by Caroline Watson from Stravaig #8

The bumper issue of our online journal Stravaig #8 can be read on these links. The Ecological and Climate Emergency is extremely urgent and green actions to create a new normal rather than returning to the old one are essential. The poems, essays and art in the journal are a most enjoyable read.



Northwords Now
Autumn-Winter 2020

You can read the current and back issues of Northwords Now, the free literary magazine of the North, online here. It is highly recommended for poetry, short stories and reviews.

Member Spotlight

Bill Skeoch

I spend the bulk of my time writing and producing my own electro-acoustic music in my small studio here in Fort Augustus. My main instrument is the guitar which, for the past few years, I have used for accompanying traditional music. It is the latter that led me stumbling into becoming the Chair of Fèis Gleann Albainn which I have been doing for more years than I care to remember. When not indulging in the aforementioned I enjoy sea kayaking, cycling, mountain biking and hill walking, although the latter has taken a back seat of late.

I came across geopoetics while studying for the MA Music And The Environment with the UHI. The main thread of the course is centred heavily around geopoetics with some of the suggested reading being works by Robert MacFarlane, Adam Nicolson and of course Kenneth White. This led to me to find fascination in the landscape around my home; the history it exuded, it’s myths and it’s legends. Even the Gàidhlig names of the hills, glens and burns all suggest a story of some kind. This inspiration still informs my music to this day.

Funding for Artists

The Creative Scotland Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers is open until Friday 18 December at 12 noon and will reopen on Tuesday 5 January 2021. The Creative Scotland Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development can also be applied for and, despite the lengthy application form, more writers especially, as well as other artists, are being encouraged to do so. Useful advice about the Open Fund application process from the Creative Scotland Literature team is here.

Geopoetry 2020 on National Poetry Day on 1 October was a huge success with 45 geologists, poets and others from all over the world taking part all day and 400 people registered to attend. The whole event was recorded and can be viewed here: My illustrated talk on geopoetics and geopoetry runs from 4 hours 54 minutes in until 5 hours 9 minutes and has 19 slides about geopoetics. A book of the contributions to be published in 2021 by Edinburgh Geology Society is well underway. A warm welcome to all those who have joined the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics as a result of Geopoetry 2020!

Extinction Rebellion Rewilding 

James Murray-White took part in our Wiston Weekend Conference last year and has an essay you can read in Stravaig#8 Part One on the need for rewilding. He has set up an active Facebook Group to campaign which now has 15,000 members and growing! More details are here if you would like to join the group and also here to apply for oak saplings to plant all over Britain:

Virtual Geopoetics Event

Our virtual Geopoetics event on 7 November was a great success with at least 45 members from USA, Italy, France, England as well as Scotland & non-members attending. We are arranging a series of bi-monthly virtual conversations in 2021. The outstanding lecture by Richard Roberts which analysed some of Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem On A Raised Beach and much else is now on our website here. It’s a must read!

This is your last chance to see the excellent exhibition of the work of the great Glasgow photographer Oscar Marzaroli which ends on Sunday 20 December at Street Level Photoworks, 103 Trongate, Glasgow. Open 12-5 pm from Thursday – Sunday. Find out more here.


Support our members who have books out this Christmas by buying their books direct where possible! Lots of reading pleasure to be had here:

In this eagerly awaited addition to Tartan Noir, Glasgow’s first Asian DI joins the ranks of great fictional Scottish detectives. Alok Patel is thrown in at the deep end as a newly promoted DI with his first investigation, the brutal murder of an Asian woman at Glasgow’s Mela Festival. Facing prejudice from his work colleagues and suspicion from the Asian community, Patel struggles to balance the pressures of his rank, relationships, and racism. Whether fuelled by revenge or rivalry, Patel must examine a growing list of suspects and get to the bottom of the murders. Order it here.

Set in Lanarkshire and Argyll after an apocalyptic pandemic, this is a story about home, family, and community, and re-establishing our relationship with the environment. Other themes are language, gender and social class. You can read an extract from it, and read more about it and the author on her website Check out this detailed review in the latest Northwords Now.

American member John Lane’s new novel takes place on Thanksgiving Day in a deep river bottom in a mythical Piedmont county, Morgan, South Carolina, a creation carried over from his first novel, the award-winning FATE MORELAND’S WIDOW. The story is told from four perspectives on the possible death and certain disappearance of Old Doc, an 85-year-old land owner/deer hunter, and turns into a search for the truth in the deep woods.

The Vanishing World of The Islandman: Narrative and Nostalgia by Mairéad Nic Craith focuses on Tomás Ó Criomhthain, a writer on a small Irish-speaking island community off the west coast of Ireland at the beginning of the 20th century. Tomás’s memoir was written in Irish Gaelic and portrayed an authentic, “slow”, precarious lifestyle of an island community that has since been evacuated and is often compared with St Kilda. It is available in paperback or as a kindle version here.

Zoospeak is an acclaimed collaboration between Scottish poet Gordon Meade and the Canadian photographer and animal activist, Jo-Anne McArthur. It has had some outstanding reviews and copies are available here.

The ground gives, the walls crack and our foundations are laid bare, revealing fragments of history, myth and memory we had forgotten once were ours. Subsidence is about the post-industrial Black Country landscape, where houses sink into old mines and the present collapses into the past beneath our feet. Written just before and after the 2016 Brexit referendum, these poems are love-songs to the dialect and culture of the Black Country, odes to working-class communities, and laments for the unwanted and off-kilter. Subsidence is available to buy here.

A full interview with me about my novel Barnhill by the Islay journalist Angus MacKinnon is on his blog here. My lively conversation with novelist and poet Mandy Haggith about writing fiction based on fact is now on YouTube. My virtual Creative Conversation with Sarah Armstrong, Angus Peter Campbell and Colin Herd about writing the past in the present is hereBarnhill is now out in paperback and signed copies are available from me and unsigned copies from Luath Press who have reduced the price of the hardback to £9.99.

The website of the International Institute of Geopoetics contains 8 Founding Texts of Geopoetics by Kenneth White which are well worth reading. They include The Great Field of Geopoetics, On the Highway of History, Geopoetics – A Scientific approach, The Atlantic Shore – A letter on the origin of geopoetics and Geopoetics – A Philosophical Approach. There is also lots more to read about Kenneth White and his work on his own website.

A warm welcome to all new and renewing members who have recently joined the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics. Our paid up membership is at its highest level ever! By joining and renewing you are supporting the development of geopoetics and enabling us to respond to the growing interest in geopoetics worldwide. If you wish, we can include a page about you in our Members’ Pages on our website if you send me your content and some images.

New members will receive free copies of Grounding a World: Essays on the Work of Kenneth White rrp £9.95 – and Stravaig#7 while stocks last!

Annual membership costs £10 waged / £5 unwaged and is renewable one year after you first join.

Read more about membership here.

Download a membership form here.

If you have news of events, activities, books, blogs, websites and exhibitions etc which you think might be of interest to geopoetics-minded people, please let us know.




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Scottish Centre for Geopoetics

Mo Dhachaidh
51 Cullipool

Isle of Luing, Argyll PA34 4UB

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