Reviews of Christine's Work

Christine's poetry & performances have been reviewed in various journals.

"In her well-handled use of history, De Luca has written a novel which is large in theme and scope but the relationships of the characters remain at the centre of the book."Review of 'And then forever', Mark Ryan Smith, The New Shetlander, Yule Issue 2011 No 258 (Read the full review)

"Her poetry - forthright but subtle - is a pleasure to read. The latest book, beautifully printed with bright, full colour painting illustrations, is a fine bit of publishing, a credit to Shetland Libraries and its sparky leader."Review of 'Wast wi da Valkyries', New Playwriting Scotland, Winter Issue, 97/98

"Shetlandic words have a verve and immediacy. French is a language of great precision. The two make a good match...Go and find this book."Review of 'Mondes Parallèles', Laurna Robertson, Northwords Now, Winter Issue, 08/09 (Read the full review)

"Christine De Luca's bilingualism makes her liguistically alert and accute."Review of 'Plain Song', Northwords, Winter Issue, 02/03

"In this collection Christine De Luca shows herself to be not only a heavyweight poet in her own right but also a trailblazer for the rest of us."'North End of Eden', Elizabeth Rimmer, Northwords Now, Spring Issue, 10/11 (Read the full review)

"North End of Eden is Christine De Luca at the top of her game, writing with great assurance and authority, and always, always, as she puts it, da element o winder. Her reputation beyond Shetland is fully deserved. I sometimes have reservations about the constraining nature of the dialect voice, but the cosmopolitanism of Christine De Luca's poetry acts as a welcome antidote to that. In fact, she appears so profligate with her use of dialect, and so versatile, we forgot how small the store of words really is - and that is the true measure of achievement."Review of 'North End of Eden', Jim Mainland, The New Shetlander, No. 253 - Hairst Issue 2010 (Read the full review)

"Da Shetland translation, by Christine De Luca, is truly Phenomenal."Review of 'Inta Shetland', Peter Lawrence Ratter, a pupil at Brae School, The New Shetlander, No. 245 - Hairst Issue 2008 (Read the full review)

"The advantage Mondes Parallèles has in being bilingual is that it presents both De Luca's appreciation of her native land to locals, and gives an insight of life in Shetland to French speakers."Review of 'Mondes Parallèles', The New Shetlander, No. 241 - Hairst Issue 2007 (Read the full review)

"The poet shows great skill in rendering true and meaningful Shetland poems from a variety of original sources."Review of 'Parallel Worlds', The New Shetlander, No. 234 - Yule Issue 2005

"The poems are straightforward, often conversational in style; they are meant to tell stories, and that is what they do. But they also paint pictures, and bring people vividly to life...This is a fascinating book."'Drops in Time's Ocean', The New Shetlander, No. 230 - Yule Issue 2004 (Read the full review)

"I welcome the absence of nostalgia in many of these poems...Here, there is no suggestion that the old days were always better; instead, we are made to feel that the present is just another stage in a longer continuous cycle."Review of 'Plain Song', The New Shetlander, No. 221 - Hairst Issue 2002 (Read the full review)

"Whether in Shetlandic or English, Christine De Luca is equally impressive. There is not an unnecessary word: every page brings mind and ear to attention. She draws from her readers that instant response which is the mark of the true poet. MacCaig's is the only influence I can detect in an otherwise wholly original talent."Review of 'Wast wi da Valkyries', The New Shetlander, No. 202 - Yule Issue 1997

"...a splendid selection which demonstrates the dazzling breadth and the variety of her craft. The feelings being evoked are universal - love, loss, joy, the power of memory, but their mode of expression is specific. When they come together, we have the alchemy that bestows what I can only describe as authenticity"Review of 'Northern Alchemy', Kathy Hubbard, The New Shetlander, No 292, Simmer Issue 2020 (Read the full review)

"Nous sommes heureux de vous dire que nous sommes conquis par Christine De Luca dont les poèmes sont superbes, qui dénotent une personne remarquable de pureté, de finesse, de sincérité directe, sans artifice, et nous vous remercions donc d'avoir édité cette belle expression d'une chic dame."'Extract from a letter to the publisher', January 2008


Veeve, Christine De Luca's recent collection from Mariscat Press, is a bilingual and lyrical foray into life, the universe and everything. From the opening poem Veeve (vivid, clearly seen) to the Clos Encoonters of the ultimate page, we are swept into De Luca's world of musical language and clear-eyed observation.

Linguistic riches operate, as always with this poet, to enhance the exploration of her chosen subject, whether she is reliving past times in her native Shetland, as in Sisters 'Twa peerie sisters, we'd skip across da brig/ ta veesit da spinsters' or celebrating Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Coonterpoint 'Da Wast-Aestern Divan Orchestra/ is playing at da Proms: Palestinian/ an Jew, sidey-fur-sidey. Dey hae/ da very laekly o een anidder/ ... At da end, he claps an claps, strangin/at der göd-haertitness, der mutual trust.'

"'Veeve by Christine De Luca', Anne MacLeod, Northwords Now - Issue 42, Autumn-Winter 2021 (Read the full review)

"Christine De Luca's Dat Trickster Sun, a well-produced pamphlet from Mariscat, contains Shetlandic poems interspersed with English ones. It ends with an ambitious poem on the subject of dialect, which is mostly in English"Review of 'Dat Trickster Sun', Sally Evans, Northwords Now Issue 28, Autumn 2014 (Read the full review)

"Les mots...a savourer, sans modération."Review of 'Mondes Parallèles', Friches No. 97, Automne 2007

"She is a great woman poet who succeeds in bringing to us the everyday, its gentleness, its cruelties, its heartbreaks, its immense undertow."Review of 'Mondes Parallèles', Salon International du Livre Insulaire, August 2007 (Read the full review)

"De Luca captures the personal and historical connections that language can provide, and weaves them together in a moving and intelligent tribute...She has again proved herself to be both a fine poet and a worthy ambassador for Shetland literature."Review of 'Parallel Worlds', The Shetland Times, September 2005 (Read the full review)

"The second collection of this humanely forthright and life-loving poet, who celebrates Shetland landscape and memories as well as putting in a fag for MacCaig. The Shetland dialect is fascinating and the glossary easily helps you through."Review of 'Wast wi da Valkyries', The Scotsman, November 1998

"The poems achieve a delectable musicality...This is poetry to be spoken aloud, or at least read slowly, allowing the sound of the words to form in the mind. Let no one be put off by the initial strangeness - this language explains itself if one listens carefully. Even when it doesn't, the unfamiliarity is hugely enjoyable...Rich rewards await those who read her"Review of 'Parallel Worlds', The Herald, October 2005

"De Luca is an excellent reader of her own poetry, as the accompanying CD to this volume attests. The poems in the Shetlandic dialect are more accomplished, and oddly more accessible, than her work in English...At its best, though, this is a refreshingly elemental body of work."Review of 'Plain Song', Scotland on Sunday, July 2002

"...mature, unshowy writing put to work in the service of humane, open-hearted thinking."Review of 'Parallel Worlds', Favourite Reads of 2005, Scotland on Sunday, November 2005

"Using cultural parallels, concrete verse and translation to emphasise their themes of multiple identities and shared values over vast distances, [the] poems are not so much traditional as explorations of tradition."Review of 'Parallel Worlds', Scotland on Sunday, October 2005 (Read the full review)

"Once again we can only marvel at her way with words, whether in English or in Shaetlin, her insight, the power of her imagination, and the sheer vitality of these vivid poems [is] striking."Review of 'Plain Song', The Shetland Times, August 2002 (Read the full review)

"George's Marvellous Medicine is a hilarious book. Dare I say, Christine De Luca's translation is even funnier. She really demonstrates how descriptive and humorous our dialect can be. On speaking to a few youngsters that have read both books, this is the one thing they all agree on."'Dodies's Phenomenal Pheesic', Valerie Watt, The Shetland Times, November 2008 (Read the full review)

"Great art is both timeless and of its moment"Review of 'Another Time, Another Place', Sir John Leighton, The National Galleries of Scotland, June 2021 (Read the full review)

"When you're writer or artist, you work in isolation so much. It was wonderful to have a conversation going on between us at a distance. I found it quite revealing."'Galleries: Victoria Crowe on painting her way back to normality', Sarah Urwin Jones , The Herald, May 2021 (Read the full review)

"The verses were written as part of a collaboration with the artist Victoria Crowe, whose dozen paintings match De Luca's words, in title and mood."'Contemplative art offers hope in uncertain times', Giles Sutherland, The Times, May 2021 (Read the full review)

"After the success of Catching the Light, an anthology of poems inspired by Victoria Crowe's work published to coincide with the retrospective, the show is also an in-depth collaboration with poet Christine De Luca. Crowe's images and De Luca's words seem to lean into one another, each drawing out the power of the other."Review of 'Another Time, Another Place', Susan Mansfield, Scottish Art News, May 2021 (Read the full review)

"I thoroughly enjoyed Northern Alchemy due to its bilingual format of Shetlandic poetry printed face to face with its English translations"'Review of Northern Alchemy', Alan Teder, Goodreads, March 2020 (Read the full review)

"I started this piece by saying that Norn died when William Sutherland did, in the summer of 1850. In fact, that's probably not quite true. De Luca's Shetlandic poetry revealed itself to me slowly and cunningly, shedding its guard as I recognised patterns and sounds, while maintaining its mystery, in the unfamiliar words. The poems are various...However certain images and themes predominate and recur: birds, the sky, the sea, journeys and language."'March Book of the Month: Northern Alchemy', James Tookey, Republic of Consciousness, March 2020 (Read the full review)

"The sense of place in each of the poems is strong. There is an appreciation of the beauty and power of the natural world, and man's place in it. Contemporary references exist but the overall feel is elemental, the language vivid and full-flavoured. A feeling of timelessness permeates the collection. Beach work sees the narrator shunning the tasks they should be completing to appreciate the moment and treasure it."'Book Review: Northern Alchemy', Jackie Law, Never Imitate, March 2020 (Read the full review)

"Every poem is a joy to read, having lived in a forest environment for 14 years, I could identity with Christine De Luca's observations about sea, plant and bird life. There's no use in pinpointing highlights as I thought each poem managed to stir memories and feelings. De Luca depiction of nature shifts, which I think is the essence of the natural world."'Christine De Luca - Northern Alchemy', Robert Pisani, The Bobsphere, March 2020 (Read the full review)

"The juxtaposition of poems and (visual) works of art...take an interesting twist, with De Luca using the tools of literary thinking to investigate the artworks and to disclose their contemporaneity."Review of 'Paolozzi at Large in Edinburgh', Carla Sassi, University of Verona, Scottish Literary Review, 2019 (Read the full review)

"De Luca's twelve poems sometimes spin directly from the artworks, and sometimes from knowledge of the artist's workings, but importantly too, her responses sometimes ask questions of contemporary issues..."'Paolozzi at Large in Edinburgh: Artworks and Creative Respones', Beth McDonough, Dundee University: Review of the Arts, February 2018 (Read the full review)

"Important... necessary... fascinating... rich... inclusive..."'Landskapsdikt', Sindre Ekrheim, Dag og Tid, January 2018 (Read the full review)

"The poems are among the poet's finest, and reflect especially her delight in language...Christine De Luca's body of work is already remarkable, her reputation as a writer well established, well deserved and widening."Review of 'Heimferðir - Haemfarins', Laureen Johnson, The New Shetlander, No 282, Yule 2017 , November 2017 (Read the full review)

"Christine De Luca's most recent collection poses, and obliquely answers, many questions so well...her English and Shetlandic sit well together in this master class in how to edit and sequence poems in a collection."Review of 'Dat Trickster Sun', Gail Low, Dundee University: Review of the Arts, February 2015 (Read the full review)

"De Luca's voice is distinctive and different, but at the same time "sib [related] tae da hale wirld": a valuable and vigorous addition to the varied gene pool of contemporary British poetry."'Pamphleteers', Andrew McCulloch, Times Literary Supplement, November 2014 (Read the full review)

"Dat Trickster Sun manages, against the poet's prediction, to greet and sing at da sam time. It is a beautiful song of a book, and it echoes in the mind. Christine De Luca is at the top of her game. This is a mature and memorable collection, and a quality production by Mariscat Press"Review of 'Dat Trickster Sun', Laureen Johnson, The New Shetlander, No 269, Hairst 2014, September 2014 (Read the full review)

"...a selection of metaphysical poems which rise above [an insular outlook]. [Shetland dialect thrived] when most islanders were involved in crofting and fishing...and why not take the dialect to new places?"'Poet blends English and dialect with linguistic flair', Stephen Gordon, The Shetland Times, June 2014 (Read the full review)

"Ower da years, I'm been interested ta see a few constant themes emergin in Christine's poetry. Dey include nature, da landscape and how it cam ta be, wir relationship wi aa dat, wir relationships wi een anidder, a feelin fir folk an der lives aa aroond da world, an language itsel."Review of 'Dat Trickster Sun', Mary Blance, Shetland Life No. 403, May 2014 (Read the full review)

"Author Laughton Johnson said...he didn't want to do a "straight story" and this was why he had collaborated with Christine De Luca for her dialect poetry..."'History, poetry and photography tell havera's unique and evocative story', Stephen Gordon, The Shetland Times, April 2013 (Read the full review)

"De Luca demonstrates a keen eye and freshness of vision when conjuring places...the author inexorably draws us into their web without recourse to surprise or suspense or sentimentality."'Tale of love and romance delights', Tom Adair, The Scotsman, November 2011 (Read the full review)

"We still get a sense of very real lives and places, which is particularly evocative as seen through the faded glamour of the tourist today, compared with the snow, the effort and the sawdust then."Review of 'And then forever', Diana Esland, November 2011 (Read the full review)

"The aim was to write a simple but well-written novel, a believable story of a life lived; with a beginning, middle and end."'Poet De Luca's first novel thoughtfully written', Laureen Johnson, Shetland Times, October 2011 (Read the full review)

"Unsentimental, but not indulgently gothic either. De Luca's poetry is often as strange and immediate, and also substantial, saying things which need to be said."'De Luca at most potent in dialect', Jen Hadfield, The Shetland Times, November 2010 (Read the full review)

"I wis wirkin at Radio Shetland da day der review copy o Christine's book North End of Eden arrived so I snaffled it right away an I'm spent a lokka time wi it fae syne...Christine takks wis on her travels in dis book. Shö's fun her inspiration no juist in Frakkafield, Steins, Orgill an Happyhansel - bit in Finistère, Rajastan, Manitoba an Siena. Da wark o da Finnish painter Albert Edelfelt is sparkit poems as weel as da charcoal drawings dun be Sarah Longley. Artefacts in Da Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh is been da source o some very strong writing an da colour o India comes trow da poems it grew fae her visit der. Dis book might spaek in Shetland but is in no wye parochial."'Nae sma benefit', Mary Blance, Shetland Life, September 2010

"Certes certains de ces poèmes, du moins dans leur langue originale, resteront aux plus anglophones d'entre nous quelque peu hermétiques, et ce malgré la qualité onomatopéique du dialecte, mais qu'importe. Il faut tenter l'expérience et plonger dans ce verbe brut qui est la parole d'une île à l'état sauvage, pour découvrir dans la douceur de l'accent insulaire, dans le rythme de scansion, plus lent que dans le reste de l'Ecosse, une invitation au voyage qui se moque bien des barrières linguistiques."'Les mondes parallèles de Christine De Luca', Camille Manfredi, 2008 (Read the full review)

"Ce livre a un parfum d'ailleurs,ces contrées Nord sauvages, les jardin et champs..."Review of 'Mondes Parallèles', 2008 (Read the full review)

"As birthday presents go a symposium like this must be high on the heart-warming scale. And one of the charms of the poems in this collection is the recurring sense of the personalised and the 'occasional'..."'There's a Poem to be Made', Daisy Mackenzie, 2007 (Read the full review)

"The pamphlet, refreshingly, isn't just a collection of poems, but the unravelling of a complex family history, the author's own...The poems, most in Shetland dialect, except for the one in English to her nephew, more than live up to the vivid, skilful standard we have come to expect and enjoy from this writer."'Drops in Time's Ocean', Chapman Literary Magazine, January 2006 (Read the full review)

"Reviewers tend to praise De Luca's Shetlandic poems over her poems in English. But her Shetlandic and English poems share an attentive specificity of perception, a sacramental feel for the natural world in both its vast extents and its minute details."Review of 'Parallel Worlds', Scottish Review of Books, Vol 1, No. 4, 2005 (Read the full review)

"The volume strikes me as sustaining a real quality of excitement and as being punctuated by fresh thematic ventures and pulses of energy...A colourful and compelling collection, enriching in the two-way glimpses it gives us into contrasted (and often 'parallel') cultures - and into the human heart."Review of 'Parallel Worlds', Stewart Conn, Poet, 2005

"Parallel Worlds is in no way limited by its strong local roots. From that base, it reaches out to universal concerns. Here we find the work of a mature poet, sure of her purpose and sure of her medium."Review of 'Parallel Worlds', Robert Alan Jamieson, Edinburgh Review No. 117, 2005 (Read the full review)

"Christine De Luca's words, beautifully crafted in the Shetland dialect, flow effortlessly from the page...Each verse seems to resonate with a sense of place that has the reader eagerly following the genealogy line of its characters."'Drops in Time's Ocean', The Shetland Post, November 2004 (Read the full review)

"Don't just enjoy reading them - for Christine, who performs her work wholeheartedly, has recorded a CD of the poetry with music...Her words [are] alive with the simple melody that is Plainsong."Review of 'Plain Song', Mary Blance, 2002 (Read the full review)

"This new collection, Plain Song, instantly impresses again. What a truly individual gift Ms De Luca has. Once again, if you open the book, you open a treasure chest...The dialect, in her voice, sings like crystal."Review of 'Plain Song', Cencrastus No. 76, 2002

"These poems, set in the seas and skies of Shetland, with the weight of Norse mythology on the one hand and modern technology on the other, should, I suppose, remind me of the great northern isles poetry of George Mackay Brown. In fact they make me think Christine De Luca is becoming a substantial poet in her own right."Review of 'Wast wi da Valkyries', Books in Scotland No. 66, 1998 (Read the full review)

"A fine little book, generous spirited..."Review of 'Wast wi da Valkyries', The Shetland Times, 1998

"Wast wi da Valkyries attracts and compels from the first glance...Complementing the beauty of the written word is the construction of the book itself, in particular the art work of Alexa Rutherford...In a sense these are pagan poems in their understanding of the beautiful, ugly, painful, joyous, enlightenment of humanity...A perfect book."Review of 'Wast wi da Valkyries', Chapman No. 91, 1998

"There is something both old and freshly invented about these Shetland strains - an intriguing blend (to my African ears) of Tolkien, Scots, Lewis Carroll and Chaucer. But De Luca weaves these together into a singular consistency, making poems of great truth and authenticity...this is language under a spell, delighting in the amazement of accuracy."Review of 'Wast wi da Valkyries', Lines Review No. 144, 1998

"An embarrassment of poetical richness in its 90 pages...the dialect poems are hypnotic...Christine De Luca's eyes and ears are just as sure when she writes in English."Review of 'Wast wi da Valkyries', Cencrastus No. 62, 1998

"An accomplished collection...poems in dialect and English sit comfortably together, weaving together a life-pattern well known to islanders."Review of 'Voes & Sounds', The Orcadian, 1996

"Christine's dialect writing is so vivid, and her choice of words so apt, that she can conjure up a moment, and let us know not only how it looks, but how it sounds, even how it smells and what it feels like. In English, though the tone is often more reflective, there is the same perceptive eye, the same precision and economy of language."Review of 'Voes & Sounds', The Shetland Times, 1996

"Powerful and evocative portraits of island life. The Shetland Library deserves praise for giving us such a quality production of fine poetry."Review of 'Voes & Sounds', Northwords, 1996

"Voes & Sounds is a very good first collection...the rhythm and incredible capacity for sound effects comes through just from a reading...and De Luca's crisp English reaching the heights of controlled emotion."Review of 'Voes & Sounds', Chapman, 1996

"A great deal of craft is evident, a sheer joy in the sound of the words and how they interplay with one another."Review of 'Voes & Sounds', Lines Review, 1996

"Christine's sessions highlighted the richness of the dialect and the expressive qualities within it and by the end of the sessions the bairns of Mossbank had added a number of words to their Shetlandic vocabulary."'North Mainland Notes', Maree Hay, The Shetland Times, September 2008 (Read the full review)

"The musical delivery of these fine poems sings off the page: from bairn rhymes to folk legend, from Walls to Manhattan, De Luca seems to swim through centuries and across cultures with consummate ease. And her commitment to the Shetland tongue is far from insular - it is the key to the world..."Review of 'Wast wi da Valkyries', Scotland on Sunday, December 1998

"De Luca also proves the point that the local is universal: writing mainly in Shetlandic, she manages to reach out across the world with a richness of language and thought that is intensely satisfying"'Books of the Year', The Herald, December 2005

"...pleasingly naughty, and full of the wild, onomatopoeic language that [Christine] believes the Shetland dialect is particularly good at. It shows children that the dialect isn't old and stuffy, but modern and evolving."'Playing with words', Cathy Feeney, The Shetland Times, October 2008 (Read the full review)

"Her Shetland poems, written in the beautiful Scots of those islands - a blend of Old Scots and Norn - seemed to hanker for a simple and pure way of life which was marvellously evoked in image and sound...They are poems with a sense of place, sympathy, commitment to language, the urge to celebrate life itself."'Review of Christine's Poetry', Douglas Lipton, Dumfries & Galloway Standard

"It is fascinating how intense the poems are marked by the sense of place without being excluding, rather the opposite. This turning towards the place and the distinctive - the digging in the haystacks, in the geological layers, in the work, the language and the history - makes the place and the poetic pictures expanding. The poem becomes in itself a place able to refine and convey knowledge."Review of 'Glims o Origin', Jim Maitland, The New Shetlander, No 283, Voar 2018 (Read the full review)

"It is a joy now to see this parallel Shetland/English selection, spanning the time-frame and spectrum of her writing career. "Review of 'Northern Alchemy', Laureen Johnson


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