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Born in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis in 1967, Anna Frater was brought up in the village of Upper Bayble in the Point district of the island. Scottish Gaelic is her first language, and the language in which her poetry is written. Her poems were first published in Gairm magazine (1986) while she was a student at Glasgow University, from which she graduated with an honours degree in Celtic and French in 1990. After a year at Jordanhill College training as a secondary teacher, she returned to Glasgow University and was awarded a PhD in 1995 for her thesis on Scottish Gaelic Women’s Poetry up to 1750. Her work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, and in her own collection, Fon t-Slige (Under the Shell) published by Gairm in 1995.

Anna Frater worked in various capacities in the media for several years before returning to teaching. She is currently working at Lews Castle College in Stornoway as a lecturer on the UHIMI Gaelic degree course. She identifies the main themes of her poetry as love, language and politics.


Dà Rathad Two Roads
Carson a bu chòir dhomh gabhail Why should I follow
na slighe ceart, lom, fada? the long, smooth, straight road?
Ged a tha an rathad air a bheil mi cam Although the road I take is crooked
agus tha na clachan a’ gearradh ma chasan, and the stones cut my feet,
agus tha dìreadh an leothaid and climbing the hill
gam fhàgail gun anail, leaves me breathless,
chan e an aon rud I am not confronted
a tha misc coimhead romham. by the same prospect
latha an dèidh latha. day after day.
Agus shuas air an leathad And up on the hill
chì mi timcheall orm, I can see around me,
chì mi gu bheil barrachd ann dhòmhs’ I can see that there is more in store for me
na slighe cheart, fhada, lom. than a straight, long, smooth road.
Tha thusa cumail do shùilean air an aon rud You keep your eyes fixed on one point
ceart, dìreach air do bheulaibh right in front of you
agus chan fhaic thu gu bheil an saoghal and you cannot see
ag atharrachadh timcheall ort. that the world is changing around you.

(Apologies for the poor formatting 😦 )