Lilias Fraser

Projects Manager

About me I did some arts and publishing jobs for a couple of years after an undergraduate degree at New Hall, Cambridge. Then I decided to throw it all in and come back north to do a PhD on contemporary poetry at St Andrews. I joined the SPL in 2003, and have worked on programme events, reading groups and activities, an outreach programme funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation before working on a variety of further projects.

Contact me about reading groups and courses, whether you are a library professional or a reader who’d like some ideas of where to begin; reader development with libraries and library training; Poetry Issues e-newsletter and recommended new titles; Living Voices, using poetry, storytelling and song with older and carehome groups; National Poetry Day Scotland postcard campaign; Tools of the Trade, our anthology of poetry for new doctors. I specially love talking about poems (and talking about talking about poems) with groups and readers who are not entirely sure it’s for them, and I hope we can make them feel differently about it.

My favourite poetry quote is from the end of Douglas Dunn’s poem, ‘Dante’s Drum-kit’:  ‘Mineral loneliness. The hour of stone. / A boat cut loose. Not much to steer it with. / Grey branches hanging over Acheron. // Look to the living, love them, and hold on.’

My favourite poets are… Ben Jonson I’ve always had a bit of a thing about – shameless dross as well as total brilliance, Diane Wakoski, Sharon Olds, Don Paterson, Kathleen Jamie, Anne Carson, Wendy Cope.. Um. Look, I’d maybe better list the first 500 or so separately.

When not at work you’ll find me eating; cooking; forcing friends to eat my cooking; swimming; novice gardening; and watching deplorably trashy films with car chases. I feel most at home in the local salvage yard.

My favourite biscuit is peppery gingerbread… My favourite cake is gingerbread (dark, sticky, so heavily spiced it causes sneezing)

Me as a form of poem would be wobbly meter as deployed by Ogden Nash. My width frequently overruns ideal form (see above for obvious reasons), and I can’t resist a deeply corny joke.

One of the poems I carry is… Too many to list, thanks to parents who made their daughter memorise poems (thank you, I see why now). Professional manifesto would be James Tate’s funny, subtle, easy drawl of a poem, ‘Of Whom Am I Afraid’, from Return to the City of White Donkeys (ecco, 2004).