Drowned village inspires verse

A DROWNED village in Lanarkshire will provide the inspiration for a new poetry competition backed by 'rock royalty' as well as Scotland's national poet.

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Makar Liz Lochhead, Manic Street Preachers' bassist Nicky Wire and veteran Scots indie music favourites Mogwai are behind to project to encourage poetry writing and support local libraries.

They will form the judging panel in a competition which is the brainchild of Jane Graham, the Scottish Book Trust's current Reader in Residence for libraries in North Lanarkshire.

It was inspired by Jane's discovery of the history of the 'lost village' of Bothwellhaugh, a once busy mining community deliberately flooded in 1965 for the development of the lake in Strathclyde Country Park.

Jane explained how the 'lost village' story developed into a national poetry competition.

She said: "I was enchanted by the story of Bothwell- haugh. And then I linked up with libraries in Cumbria and Gwynedd in North Wales, each of which have a drowned village of their own, after they were submerged to create local reservoirs.

"And together these areas are behind a competition to exploit the poetic possibilities of these curious places, whether they areromantic, melancholy, political or just plain spooky.

"The aim is to remind people of these stories, the cultural heritage that was lost, and the feelings in the community at the time."

In the case of Bothwellhaugh, local legend says when the water level is low you can still see the rooftops of buildings under Strathclyde Loch.

The best poem will be set to music by Scottish rock icons Mogwai, whose members hail mostly from Lanarkshire. And the track will be played on radio.

Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite, said: "Inspiring people to write poetry is wonderful and the opportunity to accompany it with my music was too good to pass by.

Manic Street Preachers' Nicky Wire, added: "Poetry has played a huge part in my life since I first heard the voice of Dylan Thomas on the radio aged 12. No other art form has had such an influence on my lyric writing."

The competition runs until February 24. All entrants must be 14 or over and library members in one of the three regions.

Entrants in North Lanarkshire should email poems to motherwelllibrary@culturenl.co.uk with the subject heading 'Drowned Village Poetry Competition' and include a name, age, contact details and library card number.

brian.beacom@eveningtimes.co.uk

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