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Villon: Le Testament and other translations. Poems in Shetland dialect by W. J. Tait


W. J. Tait's translations, published here in their entirety for the first time, represent the most ambitious voyage he ever made. His work transcends any limitations which an island poet might fall into and he is constantly stretching and reshaping the local language and taking it in directions it had never explored before.

The Villon poems are unlike anything in Shetland's literature: scatological, constantly inventive, funny, and their publication adds a unique, innovative and brilliant strand to the writing which has come from the isles.  



“What one might call Villon’s full-frontal confrontation with sex, life, death and the universe obliges the Shetland dialect to boldly go where it had not gone before.”
‘Villon: Le Testament and other translations by W J Tait’, James Robertson, The New Shetlander, Yule Issue 2011, No 258, 1st of December 2011

“To translate from French into Shetlandic is one thing. To inhabit the medieval rhythms of Villon, an almost mythic figure, who packed sex, priest – murder, chapel – robbery, banishment, reprieve, a threat of hanging, another reprieve, more banishment – into a brief 32 years in the 14 hundreds – is another thing again.”
Morag MacInnes, The Orcadian, 6th of October 2011


Publication details:

Publisher: Hansel Cooperative Press in collaboration with Shetland Amenity Trust
Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 9780955841477
No. of pages: 56

Eds: John Cumming and Mark Ryan Smith.
Woodcuts by Jeremy Baster.  

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