Category Archives: norman

love story

Histoire d’amour, love story. Last June I flew to Hordaland to be by their side. In nine days’ time I shall return and reconvene with this other side of the sea. I remember François speaking of belonging to the clan. I know I do, and cannot wait to step out of the plane in Bergen. Somehow it begins to feel like a Viking’s  homecoming, hamefarin.

Dear Anita and François, it is on its way to you, and should arrive a day before me. :=)

anita-og-francois Access to the wedding photobook HERE 

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Filed under 2016, 60N, autumn, blogging, book, celebration, education, geopoetics, hairst, Hordaland, humanity, images, life, migration, norman, north, norway, shetland, vikings


When writers meet,  share and offer work, words and more,  Poetics shine.  

On the ninth day of July,  such thing was done.  Inside the stones of the long house,  by the harbour, we gathered on shiny floorboards on the first floor, where a mix of faces beamed with delight.

Familiar ones – Kevin, Doug, Marsali, James and Debra… And then new ones who smiled and unleashed most kind words.  Among them,  the co-editor of Shetland  Create, Angie,   the grand orchestrator of it all, welcomed us all, eager to meet us in the flesh. 

What a splendid night we all had. 

One by one we shared words created on the very island where we walk and draw inspiration from.  

With such theme as home,  selected verse from Compass Head felt so very apt on the night.

Fabulous slice of life shared in the warmth of Lerwick’s Peerie Shop Café – a place where I still come to write – in fabulous company. 

Angie’s feeling so very much shared.  Here,  the night in her own words: 

Now we are connected.

…to Jacqui Clark’s clunk 😇

Havra,  celebrated once more, shining in the limelight, this time thanks to Scottish poet Sally Evans via her blog & brainchild, keeppoemsalive,  and featured along other poets Sally enjoys. 

Connected to the great Scottish family one more time. 

Happy poet 🙂


Filed under 2016, 60N, Arcania, arts, blogging, celebration, collaboration, Compass_Head, earth, geopoetics, island, launch, lerwick, literature, magazine, norman, north, poet, poetry, poets, scotland, shetland, spirit, update, verse, verse poetry, white, writing



It is official since tonight: Nordland Publishing welcomed me as their third poet, following a contract agreement and a shared wish for years of fruitful collaboration. As a poet & writer, am utterly thrilled to be part of the family. Wonderful birthday present that crowned a 15-year old literary project, soon to turn into a book, entitled Compass Head.

Compass Head, this first solo collection of poetry, with elements of flash fiction, is very much a Shetland product, even though it is above all a geopoetical journey from my native Normandie to my chosen, Nordic home – where my heart beats – through time and space. As for From Shore to Shoorma/ D’un rivage à l’autre (BJP 2012), co-penned with Donna Allard, Compass Head is peppered with French and Shetland dialect. It is my privilege and orthographic signature, in the sense such journey is tainted, as a multi-lingual voice. It only feels too natural as a process. I believe Kenneth White – the father of Geopoetics – would embrace this.

It is a very exciting project am only too happy to be nurtured by Nordland Publishing, under the editorial headship of MJ Kobernus, to whom – as well as fellow blogger & author Andy Murray, who got the ball rolling – I feel indebted.

A wonderful adventure has begun, and I feel the heart of young Jim Hawkins from Treasure Island pounding inside my shirt :-).

The most wonderful feeling.


Filed under 2016, 60N, Arcania, arts, blogging, celebration, geopoetics, help your library, home, introduction, island, lerwick, library, life, literature, norman, north, poet, poetry, project, roots, scotland, shetland, spirit, spring, verse, verse poetry, vikings, world, writing


15 young Shetlanders, learners of Norwegian, learnt about the meaning of ancient democracy, Viking style.
For this, they were invited to visit a sailing exhibition on board a boat I associate with summer, friendship as well as a powerful lifeline with my own ancestors.
This ship is called M/S NYBAKK .

On a 2-day visit to my side of the North Sea, this floating museum reached the last leg of an epic journey through both North & Irish Sea & Atlantic, even sailing across the Caledonian Canal (from SW to NE) to reach out to the Northern Isles.

At each stage of the voyage, NYBAKK anchored in ancient & deeply rooted democratic sites. Some are called “things”, others, “dings” or “tings”, depending where you stand on the old Viking map.
Now, last month, on 17 May 2014, Norway celebrated her 200th Anniversary as a democracy. It is also known as Constitution Day, and since the Northern Isles were once part of the Viking realm (for much longer than it has been Scottish), such Day is celebrated on this side of the North Sea. It makes complete sense, as this corner or edge of the kingdom remains above all Scandinavian.

The islands indeed belong to a network of ancient parliament sites, which, in the eyes of NYBAKK, had to be mapped and celebrated. For this, Foundation Leader, Per Kåre Nybakk, contacted Shetland Amenity Trust and offered to sail through those ancient sea trails from the North Atlantic with a formidable exhibition.

The project is called THINGProject

Over the course of today, Wednesday 25 June, NYBAKK was involved with various events, including a civic reception at Lerwick’s Town Hall, a visit to Scalloway & Tingaholm, Shetland’s most famous ting, or Field of Parliament and special presentations at Scalloway Museum.

Among the speakers, Per Kåre Nybakk delivered a powerful message of friendship he carefully included in his speech. Placing high values on our shared cultural heritage, the importance of such network as well as friendship between us all. Needless to say education is high on his agenda.

Today, young Shetlanders learnt about such project, history, shared heritage and bonds from both sides of the North Sea. Our northern isles are very special.
Today, we celebrated a fantastic human adventure as epic as the Norse Sagas.





More is to come 🙂

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Filed under 2014, 60N, atlantic, boats, celebration, geopoetics, home, Humblyband, images, island, lerwick, life, norman, north, project, shetland, shore, spirit, world, writing

new poem

peachesI still remember how prolific colonial New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield helped me shape – among many other great classic writers – my love for creative writing when notably reading English-speaking literature in Aix-en-Provence.

katherine mansfield

Katherine Mansfield, photo courtesy of National Library of New Zealand

Her body of works is so resonant and magical, and has always struck me, with two short stories in particular, “Tickets, Please!” and “Bliss”, which remain forever tattooed in my heart.

The latter, Bliss, notably include peaches, as bliss via the symbolism of the peach tree.

Now, when I think of peaches, it takes me back to Mansfield’s wonderful constellation, as well as two places in time – as a nine year-old struck by chickenpox and being nursed by my beloved grandmother, as well as right now, recovering from a viral infection.

Peaches, to me, have always been golden healers. Now, there is a poem, of the same title, published in British Columbia by Michelle Vinci, for the purpose of The Global Twitter Community Poetry Project

Happy reading! 🙂

You too can get involved.

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Filed under 2013, 60N, Canada, celebration, colours, geopoetics, life, norman, poet, poetry, project, roots, shetland, spirit, spring, verse, verse poetry

love of the sea

Image July, month of candles, as twenty two years ago, I traded dust for salt, and leapt across the sea to begin my journey north, where stravaig takes full dimension. I might have arrived with a couple of crates and a busted ankle, but a brand new lease of life began on a brand new shore, with a brand new heart.

What does it mean to the nomad?

I left behind a continent, a way of life, friends and language, with which I often reconvene… I learnt to keep to the left side, and discovered a brand new world through may voices then unknown. I’ve learnt to love each new morning, find my way through sand and pebbles, as well as in between harbours, headlands and lighthouses.

Salt replaced dust.

I have learnt to adapt to new shores, to recognise differences between two spheres that are both close and miles apart… With hindsight, we share such a common cultural heritage – from Normandy to the Northern Isles, we share that concept linked to NORTH – nor, nord, norm, north… My maternal great grand mother gutted herring on some quay in Fécamp. Here is my carte de visite. I’ve learned to love the names of new mountains, rivers, flowers, shells, birds, lores, firths, voes and wicks. I have made exciting connections with a myriad of kindred spirits all around, and opened my heart to their world, that gradually turned into mine. This latitude, symbolic 60N, has long become my chosen home.

And when I am asked, “where are you from?” I often answer, “many places”. Yet above all, I am a citizen of the world – a free spirit, chameleon, avid to share with the variety of folk, customs and traditions, without fear or prejudice. Yes, there is a heck of a twang in my tongue, but I embrace the poetics of my homeworld.

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Filed under 2012, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, celebration, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, norman, north, shetland, shore, spirit, writing

adrift in the world… looking eastwards

retour aux sources

Back to grassroots.
Nor-norn-norse-north. I still remember my loving godfather’s words when I announced him we were to settle on some archipelago west of Norway.  

“So you’re going back to your roots,” he chuckled.
“Yep,” I then answered with a grin.

Nine years later and within a single week, my Norman heart beats to new sounds; records new words and photographs eyes and smiles from the other side of the North Sea.
Shetland cultivates special bonds with the Scandinavian world & her Norwegian neighbours in particular. Their friendship is sacred and tattooed forever on every rock. 
Please check the following links:viking heritage and shetland heritage

 adrift & yet firmly anchored

It all began with a meeting in the staffroom; connecting and sealing friendship with some daring “Viking” expat,  who lives & breathes in a very similar way…  Once eyes cross and find a point of fixation this strange ability to read beyond the envelope and feel, well, alchemy starts. 
Very little did I know such simple moment would lead to such extraordinary humane adventure!

Norway Liberation Day 2010 celebrated in Shetland 

Anita Orheim sets a precedent for the 65th Anniversary of the event, which coincides with VE Day on 8 May.
She orchestrates it from her adopted home; brings in family & friends from her home islandinvites both communities to reinforce their bond and invites the Coastguard vessel Aalesound to represent the military from Norway for the occasion…

I, her humble eyes for the day

My will to help with photographying the entire event opens new doors from the moment Anita accepts my offer. One precious week to prepare myself and be able to exchange a few words in her mother tongue with our Norwegian guests… A new challenge is set!

And what a start… M/S Nybakk
From arrival on Thursday night on choppy waves… Bressay Sound jigs NE style as we gather by the Alexandra Building. A bit of home is about to moor at Victoria Pier.
Skipper and crew all on deck waving at the small welcoming party.
Mooring ropes fly at around 8 p.m.
Emotions begin to  fill hearts and throats…
Please check out: MSNYBAKK.COM

KNOPER – KNOTS… Knotting friendship
Anita ensured I would get maximum exposure to her Norwegian world by allowing my lens to enter the belly of the boat. My enthusiasm overrode anxiety and it took one evening to connect with it all. Arve Nybakk’s my teacher for the knotting exercise.  Anita’s a natural, I, a novice!
That Friday night, I began to store new & vital vocabulary and tasted Norwegian hospitality around a table full of life, food and smiles…  What a grand way to tie friendship and forge new bonds! Per-Kåre Nybakk, our boat’s skipper, aka da Chief, is watching…
8 May
through the lens
From Scalloway’s Shetland Bus Memorial & Lerwick War Memorial to the official reception on board the Aalesound and more informal party on the Nybakk…
The day was filled with emotion and humanity.

Waving goodbye on Saturday night proved emotional for Anita in particular. I must confess my throat also felt tight and dry as my hand went up… 

I now look at it as the start of a beautiful friendship. Within three days, my heart drifted eastwards and I remain forever grateful to Anita for such humane experience. 
Tusen takk, Nita!
  This poetics takes a new turn, as I begin to enjoy the cultural flavours of your homeland…  
Norwegian news 

Hyggelig å hilse pådeg,

Freddy og Karin Silden, Arve Nybakk, Ann Mabel Nybakk, Tor Kråkenes, Audun Nybakk, Arvid Haug, Willy Berg, Alf Sjåstad, John-Arne Nybakk, Marius Nybakk,  Per-Kåre Nybakk,

  I think we now have a result.


Filed under 60N, atlantic, Canada, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, norman, north, roots, writing