In ma ain accent: poetry workshop with Tracy Harvey -14 November 2018

The evening was most enjoyable, friendly and hilarious thanks to Oor very own Tracy Harvey. Tracy is a poet who writes and performs in her native Scots tongue. Carolyn O`Hara welcomed Tracy who began the evening with explaining to us that to ease our nerves, we should breathe from our belly. While doing this we should also think of someone who believes in you as you breathe. This will give you the confidence to read aloud and perform your poem.

This was followed by a demonstration and the importance of voice exercises that should be done before reading poetry aloud. So as Ayr Writers’ Group are such good participants, up we got onto our feet as requested and followed Tracy into stretching exercises. First, we stretched to relax our ribs, followed by yawning to loosen our Chakras. We then clapped the dog, did some humming and acted like Tarzan beating our chest as we said ah. We continued with rubbing our belly and on round to massaging our ribs on our back. Tracy asked us after this to whisper which was sent into the formidable tongue twister red leather yellow leather. We ended this session by going all American in saying Space Ghetto. The accents were out of this world, so it’s just as well Oor Tracy loves accents. This was so amusing as there is a varied dialect among our members, we were certainly at this point relaxed.

As if that wasn’t funny enough, we were then to choose a Scottish word /phrase from an envelope passed round and yes, say them out loud: well quite right we had done our exercises. Phrases such as “Hunt-The-Gowk” meaning April Fool’s Day; “The Steamie” – wash house; “Glessies”- wee marbles; “Talk The Hin Legs Aff A Dunkey” – talks too much, just to mention a few. I must admit we did well, especially the Lancashire lasses Carey and Sarah. Fantastic participation and well done to all for “Gie’in it laldy’’, we were “Fair Puggled” after this.

Tracy gave us a breather and read out her example poem of everyday life The Kiss. The inspiration came to her for this poem during her time one day at the bus stance in the town of Cumnock. Reading it as a monologue with great expression, in Scots language, I felt I was at the bus stance with her.

Thanks go to those who then read out their own poem in Scots or their favourite in Scots Language if they didn’t have one of their own. Suzy Turner read My Dear Missus Wuman as well as executing aloud one requested by Tracy in cockney rhyme as this was her native tongue. Linda for her Glesga poem Black Friday, Carolyn for a brilliant performance of The cumin O The Wee Mallkies. Nigel enlightened us with Gie some leet all about the weavers’ work in dim conditions. Lastly, myself for reading my own work Cumin Doon about people’s homes being destroyed for construction of motorways.

This was followed by a writing exercise on List poems after we all had taken a turn at reading one bout Breeks, which was amazing to hear and funny of reading all the different types and references to breeks /pants. We had so much fun that not many took up the offer of the tea /coffee break until we had written a short poem. Even the non-poets came up with a poem on this occasion, that was tremendous considering the time given was fifteen minutes, so well done to them. I managed to create a few lines on drinking glasses and glad to say Tracy liked my last punch line. The Lancashire girls did well again, Carey for her poem on Christmas Dinner for writing about her Grandad. Suzy’s Tam the Bam amused us all. These are just a taster that made for a great read around.

Tracy ended the evening with her poem about neighbours Through The Wall which, for those that couldn’t manage along or who wish to hear it again can find it on you tube at Fresh Ayr Videos. I recommend watching it as it is so true to life and Tracy performs it so well in Scots.

Carolyn O’Hara gave the vote of thanks at the end of an evening that was stimulating and inspiring, that I heard from a few members leaving for home how they were off to write poetry now, that they had never done before so how’s that for a tribute and compliment to our speaker.

The Missus, a poem about Mrs Jean Armour in Scots, was on a special offer at £5 on the night. This is the new book out by Tracy for anyone interested and is beautifully illustrated by our very own Maggie Bolton.

Rose Macgregor


  1. Susan Turner

    What a totally inspiring evening, although I must point out I’m not native Cockney, I just lived in London for 25 years!

    Suzie Turner

  2. Tracy Harvey

    Whit a laugh, yir a richt talented bunch, and I learned so much abuit different accents, and how no tae dae Cockney Rhyme slang. I felt very welcome, thanks for having me,


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