Slokt by Sea by Nalini Paul

Slokt by Sea was also launched by Red Squirrel on 17th January. It grew out of nalini Paul’s year in residence in Orkney as George Mackay Brown Writing Fellow. It’s a quiet book, a bit disenegaged for my taste at the moment, but full of good things.The word ‘slokt’ means drenched, or quenched, and the book is thoroughly soaked in Nalini Paul’s engagement with the sea, from a first encounter with high water crossing the Churchill barriers to a distant view of the Old Man of Hoy. It is full of music Lark Ascending, Danse Macabre and traditional Orkney fiddle music, and haunted by the legendary selkies – the seal-people, human on land and seal in the sea.

She is very conscious of landscape and weather. There is rain:
Sheets of rain sweep over the streets
against flats
into gutters
saturating leaves

and wind, peat and birds. I love her snapshot of gannets off Lerwick;

scissors fold shut
before the plunge

and the night sky:

a bowl of hidden stars

and the way she uses colours and textures, as in the first poem Moth, or in Sunshine in the Hope. I hope there are more Orkney poems to come.

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