Poems celebrate the land and people who shape it

Two Countries by Katrina Porteous.
Two Countries by Katrina Porteous.

The long-awaited second full-length anthology from a Beadnell poet is released later this month, with a launch event taking place next week.

Two Countries, by Katrina Porteous, is published on Thursday, October 23, by Hexham-based Bloodaxe Books.

Katrina Porteous with her book 'Limekilns and Lobsterpots' which is about Beadnell.

Katrina Porteous with her book 'Limekilns and Lobsterpots' which is about Beadnell.

It will be followed later this year by the publication of her illustrated history book, Old Seahouses, due from Stenlake Publishing.

Katrina will be launching the 190-page collection with an evening of readings and music at the Maltings in Berwick on Wednesday.

She will be joined by Northumbrian piper and concertina player Alistair Anderson.

Two Countries is set entirely in the North East and the Borders and is a book about the landscape, community and history of the region.

Many poems include elements of Northumbrian story-telling and song, and incorporate dialect of the hill-farmers and fishermen.

In her work with the fishing community of Beadnell, Katrina Porteous has recorded a language and a way of life that is fast disappearing as the industry changes.

The book opens with a long poem set on Hadrian’s Wall at the time of the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic. This is one of many in the book that was written as a radio poem especially for the BBC.

The Northumberland coast features strongly, not just in the poem Dunstanburgh and front-cover photograph, but in the section Sea Roads and the final part of the book with its poems about Holy Island.

In the introduction, Katrina writes: “Two Countries is a book of poems about place. By place, I mean not just land, but the people who shape it, and the conversation between them and their environment.”