BIG WORDS ON THE ROYAL MILE

A poet is someone who sees both the big picture and the fine detail. The Scottish Poetry Library, in partnership with the team from the New Waverley development in Edinburgh, is delighted to announce a new project that will make for a very big picture indeed, yet relies for its effect on words.

On the morning of National Poetry Day (8 October), the Scottish Poetry Library, the team from New Waverley and the Edinburgh Makar Christine De Luca will unveil a poem on a 25 x 12 metre printed scaffolding sheet that will cover the front of the Sailor’s Ark building, found on the Canongate stretch of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. This poem will stay up on the building until summer 2016, greeting all those who pass by. We’re calling the project Big Words.

But what poem will appear on the scaffolding sheet? That’s where you come in. We’re asking people to vote online for the poem they’d most like to see as they walk along the Royal Mile. Those taking part will be able to choose from a shortlist of five poems, each one of which has its own unique character.

  • We start with Elizabeth Burns' 'Spiral', which gently unravels a sense of wonder in making and observing.
  • Valerie Gillies’ ‘To Edinburgh’ is a map of the city in the way a good love poem is a map of the beloved’s heart.
  • William Letford’s ‘Worker’, a poem whose words reveal a writer who has experience of working in construction. 
  • Edwin Morgan’s ‘Foundation’ is a poetic manifesto: its list of items that could go into a foundation stone comprises the dreams and poetic notions which a community needs as much as it needs shelter.
  • And finally, an excerpt from Margaret Tait’s ‘A Poem for Morning’ projects the sense of hope we feel on sunny mornings, so irrepressible we feel we could build our own city.

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The poll runs until midnight on Thursday 24 September, and the winner will be revealed on National Poetry Day. We’d love to hear which poem you’re voting for and why – please tweet us @ByLeavesWeLive #bigwordsedin.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE DEADLINE HAS NOW PASSED AND VOTES ARE BEING COUNTED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!

Category: projects