Katrina Porteous was born in Aberdeen, grew up in Co. Durham, and has lived on the Northumberland coast since 1987. She read History at Cambridge and afterwards studied in the USA on a Harkness Fellowship. Many of the poems in her first collection, The Lost Music (Bloodaxe Books, 1996), focus on the Northumbrian fishing community, about which Katrina has also written in prose in The Bonny Fisher Lad (The People’s History, 2003). Katrina also writes in Northumbrian dialect, and has recorded her long poem, The Wund an’ the Wetter, on CD with piper Chris Ormston (Iron Press, 1999). Her second full-length collection from Bloodaxe, Two Countries (2014), was shortlisted for the Portico Prize for Literature in 2015.
Katrina has been involved in many collaborations with other artists, including public art for Seaham, Co. Durham, with sculptor Michael Johnson, and two books with maritime artist James Dodds, Longshore Drift (Jardine Press, 2005) and The Blue Lonnen (Jardine Press, 2007). She often performs with musicians, including Chris Ormston, Alistair Anderson and Alexis Bennett. She is particularly known for her radio-poetry, much of it produced by Julian May. One of these poems, Horse, with electronic music by Peter Zinovieff, first performed at Sage Gateshead for the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2011, is published as an artists’ book and CD, with prints by Olivia Lomenech Gill (Windmillsteads Books, 2014).
Katrina’s third full-length collection, Edge (Bloodaxe Books, 2019), draws on three collaborations commissioned for performance in Life Science Centre Planetarium, Newcastle, between 2013 and 2016, with multi-channel electronic music by Peter Zinovieff: Field, Sun and Edge. Sun was part of NUSTEM’s Imagining the Sun project for schools and the wider public (Northumbria University, 2016). Edge, a poem in four moons incorporating sounds collected from space missions, was broadcast as a Poetry Please Special on BBC Radio 4 in 2013. Her fourth poetry book from Bloodaxe, Rhizodont, will be published in June 2024.
Author photo: Tony Griffiths
Books by Katrina Porteous