The Poets

The Struileag poets have been carefully selected from across a range of styles of writing, between the old guard and the young upstarts, and from across a range of diaspora countries and communities including Scotland, Canada, Ireland and Germany. Working closely with artistic director Jim Sutherland, our director of poetry, award-winning author and poet Kevin MacNeil, has created briefs for the commissions. Jim is creating musical settings for each piece, some of which are being developed as songs.

Former Stakis Scottish writer of the year, poet, librettist and internationally renowned Gaelic man of letters Aonghas MacNeacail took on our challenge to write a haibun, an apt endeavour for a Skyeman so well travelled and so well-versed in poetry of the Far East. He also composed an extended, powerful and beguiling psalm to the sea.

Anna Frater, one of the best known and most admired contemporary women poets writing in Gaelic offered a typically strong poem, passionately and compassionately placing the Gaels alongside other dispossessed peoples, evoking 'the music of every language which sailed on the wind'.

Up and coming talent Padraig MacAoidh wrote something truly unique in the bardachd - a Gaelic rap. Furthermore, a Gaelic rap that's zero per cent novelty because, best of all, this rap really works - it's edgy, uncompromising, technically deft and quite unforgettable.

Aonghas Padraig Caimbeul, the award-winning poet, novelist, journalist and actor from Uist (now Skye) provided us with two poems - the powerful lyric 'A-mach as an Airc'/'Out of the Ark' and the hypnotic prayer 'Dia Leat'/ 'God Be with You'.

Rody Gorman, a Dubliner who is equally fluent in Gaelic, Irish and English, wrote 'Lìon'/'Net', a song to the sea that carries the sound of the sea across time and space to a place of profound and lasting metaphysical resonance.

Relative newcomer, Mona NicLeoid of Germany and Skye, wrote a marvellous poem for us, 'Fo Sneachd'/'Under Snow', combining concrete and abstract imagery with great energy, direction and lucidity.

Canadian Gael, poet, lecturer, singer-songwriter Iain S. Mac a' Phearsain, who speaks French, Italian and English as well as the Gaelic of his forebears, wrote an impassioned, lyrical song, 'Blasad nan Deur'/'Tasting Tears'.

Poet, novelist and life-writer Maoilios Caimbeul, one of Gaeldom's best and most underrated writers, gave us two pieces. 'Fiosaiche na Sioux'/'The Wise Man of the Sioux' is a deceptively simple poem about peace, while his touching waulking song is an intimate insight into bicultural relationships.

Poet, actress, novelist Catriona Lexy Chaimbeul gave us 'Acrach ann an Canada'/'Hungry in Canada', a quirky, wry and poignant poem about the hunger 'that built cities,/created histories/and opened our arms to strangers.'

We managed to track down the elusive, eccentric and under-recognised poet Babs NicGriogair. A peace activist with a great and imaginative talent for seeing poetic correspondences in the everyday, she writes with a disarming directness in a vivid and zeitgeisty poem.

Domhnall S Moireach and Michelle NicLeoid are also currently both working on original new pieces for Struileag. Renowned traditional singers Allan MacDonald, Griogair Lawrie, Brian Ó hEadhra and Rachel Walker have all contributed amazing songs on diverse subjects.