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Bards in the Bog

Bards in the Bog

Bards in the Bog displays original poetry in Shetland's public toilets.

First launched in 2009, the project has caught the imagination and attracted some really fine poets. All the selected poems can be read below


Bards in da Bruck 2015

Bruck monster

Bards in da Bog returned in 2015 with a special competition for secondary school pupils. As part of an anti-litter project sponsored by Shetland Amenity Trust, we invited poems with an anti-litter theme. Two winners, Mid Yell pupils Lizzie Colclough and Christina Anderson were selected and read their poems at the premiere of the Curse of the Bruck Monster film in Mareel. Their poems will also be displayed in toilets round Shetland. Nine runners up received Bruck Monster posters featuring their poems. Thank you to our young poets and to the Amenity Trust for iniviting us to be part of this lovely project.

Bards in da Bruck winners Joint Winners Lizzie Colclough and Christina Anderson - just click on their names to read their poems.


Bards on da Street 2014

Living Lerwick businesses kindly donated prizes for the three best poems, and the poems are being displayed on posters on Commercial Street. Bards on Da Street is a partnership between Shetland Library, Living Lerwick and Shetland Forwirds to celebrate the 2014 Year of Dialect. Read the 12 selected poems below. Bards on da Street press release

Bards on da Street 2014

Photo: Five of the successful Bards launch their poetry posters at the Visit Shetland shop. Back, L to R: Morag Nicolson from Shetland Library; Dratsi fae Shetland Forwirds; Bards Barbara Fraser and Lesley Leslie; Steve Mathieson from Living Lerwick. Front L to R: Bards F.J. Lindsay, Anna Sutherland and James Sinclair.


Bards on da Street: Year of Dialect selection 2014

Meeting in a Wast Highland cemetery by Barbara Fraser (Winner)
Dead rabbit runnin by Joan Fraser (1st runner up)
Orklandese by Fiona Rendall (2nd runner up)

Leid firnest da skave by Fiona Rendall

Box baests by F. J. Lindsay
Pooshin by James Sinclair
Winter mornin by Anna Sutherland
Rainbow nation by Nicola Sinclair
Isolation by Lesley Leslie
Luca by Nicola Sinclair
Dear wan by Anon
Da peerie moose by Jill Thomson

Bards in the Bog: Jen's Second Batch 2012

Cataract by Susie Campbell
Ness Tatties by Kate Sidra Ali, Shetland
Paganini's Fiddle in a Crofter's Barn by Stephanie Green
Taking an Onion for a Walk by Helen Addy
Taking the Fifth by Andrew Lane, Surrey

The Heart of the Rose by Anne Welsh


Bards in the Bog: February 2012 (first of two batches chosen by Jen Hadfield when she was our Reader in Residence)

emptying the honey bucket by Alistair Peebles
Honeycomb by Alison Brackenbury, Gloucestershire
Bootee by Geraldine Clarkson
Winter: Hoswick by Sheenagh Pugh, Shetland
aboot naethin by Gordon Dargie, Shetland

Passengers by Andrew Lane, Surrey


Bards in the Bog: the Hamefarin 2010 six (We had an exta round of Bards to celebrate Shetland's Hamefarin)

Armitage Shanks by Andy Jackson, Dundee
Welcome home brother by Angela Sutherland, Shetland
Spectres by Donald S. Murray, Shetland
Immigrant by James Sinclair, Shetland
Come ben trow by Mary Blance, Shetland
Northsick by Sheila Templeton, Troon

Bards in the Bog: the (not quite) final six 2009

Vowel Soonds, Shetland by Dowell Manson, Shetland
When I travelled from the Country to the City by Chrissie Gittins, London
I am the Bard of the Bog by John R.S. Lyth, Glasgow
Pee Fever by Keith Adam, Shetland
Cold Feet by Maggie Bevan
Da Hill by Susan Pearson, Shetland

Bards in the Bog: selected poems, Round Three 2009

Callum o'my heart by Andrew Lane, Surrey
Journeyman by David Weir, Cumbria
Pigeon by Jane Patience, Glasgow
Prestidigitator by Jim Mainland, Shetland
Gutter gourmet by Winston Plowes, West Yorkshire
Deep-fried flip-flops by Rebecca Zugor, Chichester

Bards in the Bog: selected poems, Round Two 2009

On the aerial by Alison Brackenbury, Cheltenham
Three ways to imitate a great spotted woodpecker by Heather Reid, Perthshire
Slug by Gill Learner, Berkshire
Eisenhower's Mother by Michael Malone, Ayr
Within reach by Michael Malone, Ayr
BEE WARE by Anne Kenny, Shetland

Bards in the Bog: selected poems, Round One 2009

Old men's ears by Duncan Jones, Lincoln
Smile and the world smiles with you by Giles Conisbee, Nr Pitlochry
Daughters by James Sinclair, Shetland
Sgurr nan Gillean by Andrew Lane, Surrey
Seamaa's breakfast by Sheila Templeton, Troon
Walt Disney by M C Johnsonburger, Lowestoft


Bards - the book

All 24 poems selected by Jen Hadfield were published in a book to celebrate the Bards project. It was launched on 19th November 2009 - World Toilet Day. Bards Book launch - press release

All the profits were donated to the charity WaterAid. £1,241.12 was raised - enough to buy three school sanitation blocks and a few more toilets besides.

The remaining copies of the book have been donated to the Library and can be bought for £2.

The book launch

Photos below (click to enlarge): the event to celebrate the book launch featured four local Bards - James Sinclair, Jim Mainland, Susan Pearson and Keith Adam - and two volunteer readers, Silvija Crook and Caroline Henderson. Between them they read all the poems from the book. Apt and amusing music was provided by Milford Georgeson and Trevor Jamieson.

Jen Hadfield and Keith Adam launch Bards in the Bog book Jen Hadfield, Karen Fraser, Silvija Crook and Keith Adam at Bards book launch, Shetland Library James Sinclair Jim Mainland
Susan Pearson Keith Adam Caroline Henderson Silvija Crook
Milford Georgeson Trevor Jamieson Karen Fraser Jim Mainland and James Sinclair


The first round of Bards in the Bog was a Poet Partner project supported by Shetland Library, Shetland Arts, the Scottish Poetry Library and Paul Hamlyn Trust.

Jen Hadfield was our Poet Partner, and said of her first selection: “Settling on six poems out of the 130 or so sent in was very very difficult. The folder included poems that were hilarious, weighty, experimental, formal, satiric, playful. I set myself to choose great poems that also demonstrated the stylistic variety of the submissions. There should be something for everyone.” Jen has gone on to judge several more rounds of Bards, including a revival of the project in 2012 when she was the Library's Reader in Residence, supported by Creative Scotland and Shetland Arts.


The launch of the Bards in the Bog project, February 2009: press release


As our Poet Partner, Jen also selected a special poetry collection for our stock and wrote two leaflets about her choices. Read or download them here:

Jen Hadfield leaflet One

Jen Hadfield Leaflet Two


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