Christine de Luca, originally from Shetland, has a writing career spanning decades and various literary forms including poetry, novels, and publications on art history. She currently lives and works in Edinburgh as the city’s fourth Makar.
One of de Luca’s most widely acclaimed poems in this role is ‘The Morning After’, read publicly for the first time the week before the independence referendum in 2014. The poem is worth revisiting once again in the wake of the Leave vote in the recent EU referendum as all eyes are on both our parliaments and our people to decide our social and political path in Scotland, the UK, Europe, and the world. ‘The Morning After’ appeals to our shared consciousness of compassion and care, challenges divides and hateful sentiment, and asks what we really hope to gain from political progress:
Was it about the powers we gain or how
we use them? We aim for more equality;
and for tomorrow to be more peaceful
than today; for fairness, opportunity,
the common weal; a hand stretched out
in ready hospitality.
Read the full poem here.
De Luca’s poetry has cross-cultural appeal, having been translated into numerous other languages from Icelandic to Bengali. As an artist she nurtures her Shetlandic heritage, a language and culture often forgotten by a creative industry focussed on the Central Belt. De Luca also works on a project called Inta Shetland, which translates a range of global literature into Shetlandic.
Quoted in the Edinburgh Evening News after the announcement in 2014 that she was to become Makar, she said:
“I write in whichever language comes to the poem. I might write about Edinburgh in dialect and then write about Shetland in English. My work involves both languages equally and that’s something I would like to help with – people feeling good about their mother tongue.”
Check out De Luca’s website for more information on her work, or better still come to the Scottish Writers’ Centre event at the CCA Club Room at 7pm this coming Tuesday 5th July to give her a warm welcome and hear her advice on ‘Trying to make the poem “work”’.
Words by Ellen MacAskill