Katrina Porteous – Books

Books by Katrina Porteous  


The Wund an’ the Wetter

In 1999, Katrina and Northumbrian piper Chris Ormston were commissioned by IRON Press to write new words and music to be performed at the launch of ‘The Northumborman’, the collected poems of Fred Reed. The result was Chris’s melody ‘Mind Yor Language’ – music in dialogue with speech – and a 237 line poem in the language of the north Northumbrian fishing community, which moves as close to music as words can. The book and CD were issued in collaboration with the Northumbrian Language Society and are available from the publishers here

An excerpt from a 2015 performance of ‘The Wund an’ the Wetter’ can be seen here

You can hear more of the work here:
The first of these audio excerpts lists some of the birds encountered by fishermen, and some of the fish and other sea creatures they catch.

The second excerpt lists some landmarks by which the fishing grounds were known, some of the words used for parts of a fishing coble, and some objects found in a fisherman’s hut.


The Lost Music

Poetry published by Bloodaxe Books in 1996. The second half of this collection features Katrina’s fishing poems, some of which are songs or dramatic monologues in coastal Northumbrian. ‘Sea Song ii’, for example, is a dialogue between a fisherman’s wife and her man, contrasting the freedom of the open sea with the security of home. Audio file attached Others, like ‘The Marks t’ Gan By’, are a ‘conversation’ between Katrina’s ‘standard English’ and a Northumbrian fisherman. Audio file attached

Details of the book and purchase details are here  and Katrina’s page is here

Two Countries

Published by Bloodaxe Books in 2014, and shortlisted for the Portico Prize in 2015, this collection features some of Katrina’s long radio poems, such as ‘Dunstanburgh’ and ‘The Refuge Box’, which contain chants and song-like elements in the Northumbrian language. The book also contains the text of ‘The Wund an’ the Wetter’, ‘The Blue Lonnen’ fishing poems, and a substantial glossary of Northumbrian words. ‘Two Countries’ is also available as an eBook with audio.

Details of the book and purchase details are here  and Katrina’s page is here


Contributor to: ‘Fishing and Folk’ by Bill Griffiths

Bill Griffiths’ posthumous work, the third in his ‘Wor Language’ trilogy published by Northumbria University Press in 2008, combines dialect vocabulary and literature as a way to explain the North Sea coast and its social development.  Bill thanks Katrina in his Acknowledgements for her contribution of ‘a unique record of a local maritime vocabulary’.  Her 30-page glossary of ‘words used by north Northumbrian fishermen and their families’, which she collected between 1989 and 1996, appears as Appendix 1, pp. 217-246. 

Details of the book and purchase details are here


Share this content