Pròifilean nam Bàrd: Leum Marcas Mac an Tuairneir air bòrd long na Poblachd airson àireimh a sia, is tha e air bhith a’ dìon àite do bhàrdachd Ghàidhlig bho shin a-mach. Na bhàrd fhein, tha e air dà cho-chruinneachadh a chur an clò: ‘Deò’, (Grace Note, 2013) is ‘Lus na Tùise’ (Bradan Press, 2016). Cuideachd, sgrìobh e a’ phamflaid trì-chànanach ‘beul-fo-bhonn / heelster-gowdie’ (Tapsalteerie, 2017) còmhla ris a’ chompanach bàrdail aige, Stuart A. Paterson, a tha na dheagh charaid don iris, cuideachd. Bhuannaich e duais bàrdachd na Gàidhlig aig Fèis Leabhraichean Bhaile na h-Ùige ann an 2017, far an robh e air a’ gheàrr-lìosta ann an 2015 is 2016. Thàinig an dà là!

Poet Profiles: Marcas Mac an Tuairneir (Mark Spencer Turner) jumped aboard the good ship Republic in time for issue two and has been securing a place for Gaelic poetry therein, ever since. A bard in his own right, he has two full collections in print: ‘Deò’ (Grace Note, 2013) and ‘Lus na Tùise’ (‘Lavender’, Bradan Press, 2016) as well as having co-authored the trilingual pamphlet ‘heelster-gowdie / beul-fo-bhonn’ (Tapsalteerie, 2017) with his poetry bezzie, and friend to the magazine, Stuart A. Paterson. He won the Wigtown Book Festival’s Gaelic poetry prize in 2017, after being shortlisted in 2015 and 2016. About time, too!

Marcas Mac an Tuairneir

Posted by Marcas Mac an Tuairneir on Saturday, 14 October 2017

 

Cò an t-amas aig Poblachd nam Bàrd a thug ort a dhol an sàs san sgioba-dheasachaidh?
What was it about the aims of The Poets’ Republic that made you join the editorial team?

Bha e air a bhith dùbhlanach mo chuid bàrdachd fhèin fhaicinn sa chlò, dìreach leis is nach gabhadh a’ mhòr-chuid dh’irisean Albannach ri obair ùr sa Ghàidhlig. Leugh mi a’ chiad àireamh is chòrd a’ bhàrdachd rium gu mòr, gu seachd àraid am blas a bh’ oirre. Nam bheachd, cha robh iris sam bith eile dàna gu leòr bàrdachd phoilitigeach den leithid fhoillseachadh san aon dòigh. Sgrìobh mi post-d trodail pongail gu Neil is Duncan a dh’innis dhaibh nach deimhinnicheadh iad farsaingeachd bàrdachd na h-Alba, uile gu lèir, às aonais dhuilleagan a chur fa leth do bhàrdachd sgrìobhte sa Ghàidhlig. Bha mi airson cothrom a chruthachadh. Ghabh iad ris an dùbhlan is tha mi air bhith nam phàirt den sgioba o shin a-mach.

It had been somewhat challenging seeing my own poetry in print, simply because of so few periodicals in Scotland accepting new Gaelic works. I read the first issue and enjoyed the poetry immensely. It just had ‘blas’. At the time, I didn’t feel any other publication was brave enough to take on political poetry and publish it, in the same way. I wrote a pretty direct, if not pugnacious, email to Neil and Duncan telling them they would fail to represent the Scottish poetry scene in its entirety unless they ring-fenced pagination especially for Gaelic poetry. What I wanted to do was create an opportunity. They picked up the gauntlet I’d thrown down and I’ve been on the team ever since.

Bha uair is gum b’ i bàrdachd guth an t-sluaigh. Ciamar as urrainn dhuinn tuigse is meas dhaoine air bàrdachd ath-bheòthachadh, mar mheadhan atharrachaidh shòisealta?
Poetry used to be the voice of the people. How can we regenerate people’s understanding of, and enthusiasm for, poetry as a vehicle for social change?

Bha bàrdachd riamh na phàirt mhòr de chultar nan Gàidheal is aig cridhe ar dùthchais, dualchais, is beul-aithris. O mheadhan an fhicheadamh linn, is mathaid, tha sinn air bhith faicinn sgaradh is sgapadh eadar bàird a sgrìobhas ann an stoidhle traidiseanta – bàrdachd baile, sgrìobhte le is airson choimhearsnachdan – is bàird eile a leanas traidisean ùr litreachail a’ chòigneir chliùitich (Somhairle MacGill-Eain is bàird ‘Nua-bhàrdachd na Gàidhlig’). Ach a dh’aindeoin sin, tha aon rud fìor: bha cùisean sòisealta riamh aig cridhe ar bàrdachd – ge b’ e an cruth no an stoidhle. Mar sin, tha bàird na Gàidhlig air àite a shireadh dhaibh fhèin air àrd-ùrlar eadar-nàiseanta, o bha Gàidhlig aig na h-eòin.

Gun teagamh, ‘s e gnìomh politigeach a bhith a’ bruidhinn is a’ sgrìobhadh sa Ghàidhlig, fhathast, is tha mi toilichte a ràdh gu bheil saoghal bàrdachd na Gàidhlig gu math fallainn, fhathast. ‘S e cnag-na-cùise, cò na guthan as motha a thèid a chluinntinn, is cò aig a bheil a’ chumhachd am brosnachadh. Taing do Dhia gu bheil Poblachd nam Bàrd ann, gus sin a dhèanamh.

Poetry has always been a huge part of Gaeldom and at the heart of our national profile, our tradition and our oral culture. It’s only since the middle of the last century that we’ve seen real divergence and distancing between those writing in traditional styles – that which we call ‘bàrdachd baile’, written by and for communities – and those working in newer literary styles, inspired by the likes of the Famous Five (Sorley MacLean and his ‘Nua-bhàrdachd na Gàidhlig’ contemporaries). That notwithstanding, something remains: social issues have always been the stuff of our poetry – whatever the form or style. Thus, Gaelic poets have always ploughed their own furrow in an attempt to find their way onto an international platform. 

It is still very much a political act to speak and write in Gaelic and I am pleased to note that the contemporary Gaelic poetry scene is relatively healthy, nowadays. The crux of the matter is in discerning who the voices are that are being heard the most, or rather, who has the power to make space for them. Thank God that The Poets’ Republic is here to do just that.

Nad bheachd, dè a’ chùis shòisealta as deatamaiche ann an Alba, san là an-diugh?
What do you consider to be the most significant social issue in Scotland today?

Chan fheum sinn a’ bhith a dlùth-choimhead pàipearan naidheachd na dùthcha gus sealladh fhaighinn air diofair bheachdan a th’ aig daoine air cànan is coimhearsnachd. Gu mì-fhortunach tha luchd-deasachaidh fhathast den bheachd gu bheil iad ceadaichte pìosan ‘beachdail’ fhoillseachadh a chuireas sios air na Gàidheal san là an-diugh. Cha toir iad for, nas mò, gu bheil iad aig ceann còmhraidh a’ dol eadar am mòr-shluagh is na daoine fhèin is chan eil mi cinnteach am bi iad a’ riochdachadh beachdan dhaoinecho math is a thathar an dùil.

Gu mì-fhortunach chan iad na Gàidheal a-mhàin a bhios fo sgrùdadh leac-glainne mì-rùn nan Gall. Bidh coimhearsnachdan LGDT, coimhearsnachdan cinnidheach is fògarraich fo bhuaidh an aon sheòrsa droch-dhìol. Chan eil e ceart is chan eil e cothromach.

You don’t have to look too deeply into contemporary print media in this country to get more than a brief overview of the various opinions people have about language and community. Unfortunately, editors still feel they are entitled to run ‘think pieces’ which demonise Gaelic-speakers, even in today’s day and age. They don’t seem to realise that they are, themselves, at one end of a dialogue going on between themselves and society. They’d like to think they’re simply reflecting what society thinks, but I suspect it’s we who’ve got news for them, actually, not the other way round.

Unfortunately, Gaelic speakers aren’t the only ones under the microscope of English-speaking monoglot malice. LGBT and BAME communities and refugees get the same kind of abuse. It’s uncalled for and unacceptable.

Cò am bàrd a mholadh tu do luchd-leughaidh Poblachd nam Bàrd?
What one other poet would you recommend to readers of The Poets’ Republic?

A thaobh bàrdachd na Gàidhlig, mholainn Dàibhidh Eyre. A thaobh bàrdachd na Beurla mholainn Jay Whittaker.

In terms of Gaelic poetry, I’d recommend David Eyre. In terms of English-language poetry I’d recommend Jay Whittaker.

Cò am bu chòir tagradh a chur a-steach gu Poblachd nam Bàrd?
Who should submit to The Poet’s Republic?

Duine sam bith aig a bheil rudeigin ri ràdh is a chaidh a dhiùltadh tron na slighean àbhaisteach. Bàird ùra is bàird stèidhiche. Bàird a tha dàna gu leòr an cuid obrach a chur mu choinneamh a’ mhòr-shluaigh seach an caraidean is nan urracha-mòra.

Anybody who has something to say but has been rejected via the recognised channels. Emergents as well as established poets. Poets who have the gumption to stand up with their work in front of the general public, not just their pals and the bigwigs.

Cò na h-àiteachan is meadhanan poblach as motha anns a chìtheadh tu do chuid obrach, nam b’urainn?
In what public space or media would you most like your work to appear?

Tha mi gu math gnìomhach tro ma meadhanan sòisealta is air loidhne. Tha làrach-lìn agam fhìn is cleachdaidh mi na duilleagan agam air Facebook is Twitter gus beachdan fhaighinn air dàin ùra, a bhios mi a’ leasachadh. Tha mi fhathast dèidheil air mo chuid obrach fhaicinn sa chlò is chan ann tric a bhios mi a’ lìbhrigeadh aig tachartasan ‘a’ bhriathair labharta’. ‘À chacun son goût’, mar a chanas iad, ach dhòmhsa dheth, bu chòir bàrdachd a sheasamh air an duilleig ceart cho math a thèid a chluinntinn air an àrd-ùrlar. Ma tha mi cho mòr airson eachdraidh-beatha no rosg, thèid mi gu bùth-leabhraichean son a cheannach, no sgrìobhaidh mi fhìn e. Chan eil mi ann airson sin, an gighis bàrdachd. Is toil leam fìor bhàrdachd is ‘s e sin air a bhios mi ag amais a sgrìobhadh.

Ach an fhìrinn innse, bhithinn taingeil a bhith an sàs ann an diofair phròiseactan is tachartasan, nam biodh cuid deònach làmh a shìneadh. Tha mi air cluinntinn diofair bhuidhnean a’ moladh na Gàidhlig, ged nach tug iad cothrom do sgrìobhadairean na Gàidhlig a dhol an sàs, o chionn fhada. Uaireannan bidh daoine fo iomagain, is iad an dùil gun gabh luchd-èisteachd air an t-sròin e, ma bhios Gàidheal na chuideachd. Uaireannan, leis nach eil de Ghàidhlig aca, nì iad dearmad deic dhi, no bidh iad an dùil nach eil ùidh aig luchd-èisteachd innte, no annain, leis nach eil ùidh aca-san. Tha e fada ro fhurasta dhaibh ar seachnadh, is dòcha.

Gu dearbh, ma bhios buidhean-ealan sam bith an dùil a’ bhith a’ toirt sealladh air farsaingeachd ealain na h-Alba, feumaidh cuid Gàidhealach a bhith an sàs sa phròiseact, ge b’ e dè th’ ann. Tha mi gu mòr den bheachd nach bu chòir tachartas sam bith dol air adhart, ann an Alba, às aonais neach-ealain na Gàidhlig no na Beurla Ghallta gu bhith an sàs ann. Chan eil leisgeul sam bith aig duine, ann an 2018. Tha sinn uile dà-chànanach!

I am pretty active online and on social media. I have my own website and I use my Facebook and Twitter pages to share works in process that I’m developing. I’m still very fond of the printed page, though, and so you won’t often find me at many events which are ostensibly ‘spoken word’. Each to their own, but for me, I want my work to stand on the page as securely as it sounds on stage. If I want memoir or prose I’ll go to a bookshop and buy it, or better still, write it. I’m not here for that, disguised as poetry. I like the real deal and that’s why I try to write.

That said, to tell the truth I’m not going to turn down any invitation to be involved in a project or event, if someone has the foresight to extend a hand. I hear all the time from different arts organisations and collectives, who reckon they’re fans of ‘that Gaelic’, despite the fact that they haven’t had a Gaelic-speaker on the bill for yonks. Sometimes people freak out, worried that audiences will take a huff if there’s a Gael in the room. Sometimes, and especially if they don’t have Gaelic, they conveniently forget to include it, and us, or think no one will be interested, because they aren’t. It’s easier to avoid us, perhaps.

But really, if any arts organisation thinks they are going to present a balanced representation of Scotland and her arts in their fullness, there needs to be a Gael on board with the project, whatever it is. I don’t think any event should go ahead in Scotland without a Gaelic- or Scots-language artist on the bill. There really is no excuse, in 2018. We’re all bilingual!

Dè a’ chomhairle as fheàrr a chaidh a thoirt seachad, a thaobh do chuid sgrìobhaidh, gu ruige seo?
What is the best piece of writing advice you have been given so far?

Na dèan beul de do thòn.

Cut the crap.

Dè a nì thu nuair nach bi thu ri sgrìobhadh?
What do you do when you’re not writing?

Tha e doirbh traidisean na bàrdachd a sgaradh bho traidisean nan òran air saoghal na Gàidhlig, is gu dearbh, is toil leam a bhith a’ seinn. Tha mi air òrain ùra a sgriobhadh còmhla ri feadhainn de na cheòladairean as fheàrr a th’ againn, san là an-diugh – rud a tha air bhith na fhìor urram. Bidh mi a’ seinn mar aon-neach is am measg Còisir Ghàidhlig Lodainn. Tha mi nam chathraiche do Bhothan Dhùn Èideann, nam oifigear na Gàidhlig do Cho-nasgadh nan Sgrìobhaiche (Alba). Tha mi air bòrd-stiùiridh Leabharlann Bàrdachd na h-Alba is tha mi moiteil a bhith nam Eiriceach, cuideachd. Eadar na rudan sin, tha mi a’ dèanamh ollamhachd aig Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann.

It’s difficult to separate the Gaelic poetic tradition from our song tradition and, indeed, I love to sing. I’ve written new songs with some of Gaeldom’s finest contemporary musicians – something which is a real honour. I sing as a soloist and with Lothian Gaelic Choir. I’m the chairman of Edinburgh’s Bothan and the Gaelic Officer for the Federation of Writers (Scotland). I’m also on the board of the Scottish Poetry Library and a proud Heretic. Between all that I’m also doing a PhD at Edinburgh University. 

Càit’ am faighear tu air loidhne?
Where can we find you online?

www.marcas.scot

facebook.com/marcasmac
facebook.com/marcasmacdeo
facebook.com/lusnatuise
facebook.com/beulfobhonn

twitter.com/marcas_mac

Cuirmean no tachartasan sam bith?
Any upcoming gigs or events?

Friday, 22nd June
Dumfries and Galloway’s Gaelic Heritage: A Celebration
Dumfries
7 – 9pm, The Stove Network, 100 High Street

Tuesday, 10th July
Federation of Writers (Scotland)
with Alison Lang
Edinburgh
6 – 8pm, Café-bar, Traverse Theatre

​Friday, 24th August
Saturday, 25th August
The Poets’ Republic – Unleashed!
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Edinburgh
2 – 4pm, 7 – 10pm, Scottish Poetry Library

Friday, 22nd October
Bothan
with singers from Lothian Gaelic Choir
Edinburgh
7 – 9pm, The Canon’s Gait, High Street

Saturday, 3rd November
The Heretics with Dolina MacLennan
Edinburgh
7 – 10pm, Scottish Poetry Library

Saturday, 10th November
Na Buachaillí Aerach / Na Balaich Aighearach
with Scott de Buitléir
Edinburgh
8 – 10pm, The Waverley, St. Mary’s Road

Mìle taing, a Mharcais!