Katrina Porteous has been living and working alongside the fishermen of the Northumberland village of Beadnell since the early 1990s. Half the poems in The Lost Music celebrate her love of the place and its people. Her first collection also includes some of her own drawings featuring both fishing and industry in decline as well the wildlife of North-East England.
All her poems are strongly physical in character, written to be read aloud. They take as their starting-point the tensions between time and eternity, change and stillness. In language which is both passionate and controlled, they express the endless struggle to discover new forms of order.
The fishing poems develop these themes within a microcosm of the wider world. In a dialogue between her own voice and the fishermen's dialect, Katrina Porteous traces the identity of the community in its common memory and working practices, finding with the passing of the old ways of life a loss of spiritual direction. The poems suggest the way forward is neither to cling to the past nor to abandon it, but to change and remember.
'Katrina Porteous returned to her native North-East, to an elected solitude on the Northumberland coast. She bears witness to the natural beauty and the industrial wreckage around her. What is rarer, she has also sought out the people there, in particular the dwindling fishing community, and out of this experience she has not only created memorable poems but performed an act of historical and linguistic retrieval. But whatever the subject, there is throughout an engagement with process – be it of natural growth and decay or of human love and mourning – that demands prolonged patience, careful observation and unwavering purpose. A rage for order informs the fashioning of these cadences which resonate in the memory. There are poems here to take to heart, and to have by heart' – Stephen Romer.
'Katrina Porteous…celebrates what springs up, unbeautiful, between the cracks left by the post-industrial landscapes of the Northeast, celebrates the endurance of rocks and plant life...and implicitly, too, the survival of human beings as cultures and traditions struggle with change' – Pippa Little, Writing Women.
'She writes a kind of poetry that is regrettably becoming rare, a poetry with accurately observed natural furnishings, a freshness and clarity of language, each poem with its own tune' – Vernon Scannell, Daily Telegraph.
‘Katrina Porteous’s long-awaited first collection, The Lost Music, has already earned her widespread critical comparisons with Edward Thomas...It is a long, long time since this voice was heard in English poetry, the ‘lost music’ of everyday living...For Porteous, this lost music contains regenerative possibilities, like Nature, like work and art’ – Mark Robinson, Scratch.