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Children's author Kirsty McKay discusses dialect poetry in Northumberland. She explores the history, hearing old tapes recorded by her late father, and examines its future.

In the final episode of this three part series, children's author Kirsty Mckay offers a snapshot of dialect poetry in Northumberland today.

When Kirsty returned home recently she was struck by how dialect and culture was being eroded by the encroachment of urbanisation and the influx of people moving into the area.

Here Kirsty rediscovers the dialect poetry by listening to old tapes recorded by her late father. She says: 'I found recording after recording of dialect poetry, often accompanied by local musicians, some recorded in late night lock-ins at local pubs or by the fire in the tiny cottage I'd known as a child.'

Kirsty sets out on an exploration of identity and the future of the Northumbrian language in the poetry of the Cheviot hills.

Among the people she meets along the way are poet, musician and composer James Tait, retired shepherd Allan Wood and poet and historian Katrina Porteous. Kirsty also hears poetry from the children of Harbottle School and the entrants of The Morpeth Gathering.

Meanwhile the case is made for Northumbrian as a language, not a dialect. It represents the remainder of Old English and is the grandmother of the Scottish language.

Tongue and Talk: The Dialect Poets is produced by Made in Manchester for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Sat 2 Jun 2018 23:30


  • Sun 27 May 2018 16:30
  • Sat 2 Jun 2018 23:30

An ear for an aye – listening to England's dialect poetry

An ear for an aye – listening to England's dialect poetry

Read the words and hear the sounds of England's regional poetry.