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New Writer 2023: Craig Aitchison
Craig Aitchison is a writer from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling. He writes poetry and prose in both English and Scots. He has had short stories published in Northwords Now, Tangled Web, Pushing Out The Boat, Southlight, Wyldblood and in the Fly on the Wall Press anthology, 'Demos Rising'.
His poetry has featured in Poetry Scotland and he was commissioned by the Scottish Poetry Library to write a poem to celebrate 250 years of Sir Walter Scott. His work in Scots has featured several timed in Lallans magazine and has won the Scots Language Centre's Sangschaw Prize. In 2022 his poem in Scots, 'Sea Room', was shortlisted for both the Wigtown Prize and the Wigtown Scots Prize. Craig is a Scottish Mountaineering Creative and regularly writes poetry for the matchday programme of Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club.
"The winds finally dropped, and the crew of the White Star, now alone in a boundless ocean, in Little Dod's words, 'made a friend of the sea for the night.'"
Peter Aitchison, Black Friday: The Eyemouth Fishing Disaster of 1881
Oan yon Black Friday, maist boats
turnt fir the shallae herbour
and traisonable rocks ae haim.
In the brattle an blatter, White Star
steert fir appen sea. Crewmen
murmelt dissent but hauns follaed
orders, navigatit her throu
the stramash, whiles the daurk witter swallaed
Myrtle, Wave, Blossom, Harmony.
Gin scud mauls riggin, bluister rents mast
frae deck, haim is nae refuge;
it's an airt tae scrim for in the gowstie
rochle ocean, a sea room tae bigg
oan foonds that jaw, rowe an swall,
waws o PVC, pitch waffs, cauld sky.
Press Home, Good Intent, Invincible.
Hove awa frae dunes, frae landfill
jungle, the haurd miles ahint –
racks, causeys, mairches. Hale continent.
Lily of the Valley, Sunshine.
Trou tae Google Maps, aim fir the five
rid lichts o the antenna, faur
aff in the daurk. Huddle wairm, dry.
Forget-Me-Not, Blossom, Guiding Star.
Fecht draigin witter, trust the ootbuird
ingine will caw the brickle
fifie, sae stowed wi howp. Hesp haunds
tae bail witter, tho it will
rin thro paulie fingers. Scrowe picters
ae waitin faimly. Whiss wirds
fir easement. Forbeir. Pit up a wird.
Enterprise. Fiery Cross. Onward.
'Writing is about connecting – connecting the past and present, the personal and universal, the local and global, the traditional and contemporary. I want people to connect with writing in Scots and find challenge and enjoyment in its possibilities.'