A Review Of Heading North

The musician and writer Laura Bruno Lilly recently posted a great, incisive review of my poetry collection on her blog, in which she quotes some of the included poems.

It’s always good to be mentioned in the same breath as The Beatles!

My thanks to her for her ‘shoutout’ post.

Here is the link:

http://laurabrunolilly.com/poetry-shoutout-heading-north-by-andrew-james-murray/

 

nor, north, northern

My book and a glimpse of a poem, along with two other books, feature in this post by Nat Hall, the next and soon-to-be crowned Songs Of The North poet. I will let you guys know when her book is out. In the meanwhile, check out her post on the link below.

Source: nor, north, northern

Year End Gusts

The year seems determined to depart in a rail of rain and gusts. The night is fractured by the crashing sounds of unknown objects, untethered and unaccounted for. There is an angry howling around the eaves, but the house stands firm.

not by the hair on my chinny chin chin

The pale dawn reveals a community of resigned routines, a northern expectancy of more to follow, raised on a staple of storm and flood

a good day for ducks

or

to fly a kite

There is a woman bearing a ‘can you believe this’ grin, a hand placed protectively upon her scarf-covered head, even though it is knotted tightly beneath her set chin.

The kids have given up on snow, blinking back stung tears in the wind, laughing at the firm hand on their chests, pummelling and pushing, tempering their flight.

Throughout the town there is a weary shuffle towards the end. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.

Still we batten down.

Publication Date For Heading North

I can finally tell you guys that my poetry collection is being published on the 6th of December by Nordland Publishing. I will share Amazon links on the day for any of you great, supportive people who may want to buy a copy.

I am really pleased with it, and proud to be part of the Songs Of The North series.

image

Introducing The Northlore Series

I have been given permission to show you guys the cover of the first in a trilogy of books being published by Nordland Publishing, inspired by the old tales of the North. This first book is an anthology of stories and poetry featuring aspects of Scandinavian folklore, (the second is planned to be focused upon ‘myths’), and also includes some great illustrations too. I have a poem and a story included in it, but don’t let that put you off. It is a great and varied collection of work that is diverse enough to meet all tastes. image I am particularly pleased with my story as, although I have had poetry featured in various collections and publications, this is the first piece of fiction that I have had published, and I think it stands up okay alongside work by more seasoned writers. I will let you guys know the publication date as soon as I get it, and then, if you so wish, we may walk the North road together. Exciting times! image

Of Shadows and Sagas: A Time to Remember and to Read

As I write this in the comfort of my lounge, outside tonight the wind is howling, furiously, as though angry at its inability to gain entry into my sheltered refuge.

The odd, hunched figure can from my window be seen hurrying past, assailed by the calvacade of leaves and torrential rain.

The barely noticeable shortening of days, accompanied by the imperceptible shift in temperature from late summer into mild autumn, has definitely given way to the unmissable crossover point of autumn and winter.

Above the wind I can barely hear the fireworks exploding.

Samhain/Halloween…All Saints’ Day…All Souls’ Day…Bonfire Night…Remembrance Sunday.

It feels like this is the time for remembering. As the nights grow deep and long, just as we light candles and bonfires to hold off the dark, so we turn within to shine a light upon our own shadows, far within the recesses of memory.  Examining and reacquainting ourselves with the inner cast of our lives. Acknowledging those who have slipped from sight. We bring them out to breathe.

This time of year is also a great time for reading-armed with the fortitude of caffeine and electric or candle light, removed from the outside assault of climate and enveloping darkness.

I have always turned to stories around this time, without really analysing why, that can be found in books such as The Táin and The Mabinogion. Legends and tales told over centuries, losing myself in the storytelling of people long gone. Connecting with the idea of a people gathered around the hearth, imaginations fired.

When people ask me where my favourite place is, my reply is ‘North’. Scotland-the Highlands and the Orkney Islands, Scandinavia. You are never likely to see me sporting a suntan.

There is something in the landscape, the myths, the culture, born from the tummult of land and sea, that speaks to me.

And this is my time of year. The cycle has come around again.

I was about to start the Icelandic Sagas, but instead I have turned to East of the Sun, West of the Moon-Old Tales From the North.

photo (42)

This is a collection of Scandinavian fairy tales that have had many interpretations over the years, but this copy is a reproduction of the 1914 version which has some fantastic illustrations in it by Kay Nielsen.

photo (43)

The attraction of this book, as opposed to the Sagas, is that I can share it with my children. There are fifteen tales in it, so that is one per storm struck night, for just over a fortnight.

Wind, rain, darkness, a father, children.

Reading.

Remembering.

Imaginations fired.

My favourite time.