Blog Our Sweet Old Etcetera

Blog Our Sweet Old Etcetera

Behind the scenes at the Scottish Poetry Library

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The Thursday Post: Confessions of a poetry critic

Writing poetry criticism can strike fear into the heart of even the most seasoned reviewer. One hack confesses all - and why a new course run by the SPL could make such fears a thing of the past.

The Thursday Post: Homage to Tsvetaeva

SPL Director Robyn Marsack recently visited Moscow where she made a pilgrimage to the home of poet Marina Tsvetaeva. Read her account of how moved she was to be in the same space once shared not only by Tsvetaeva, but Pasternak and Mandelstam.

The Thursday Post: Valentine's Day

Some years ago, when teaching in a Scottish prison, I observed a curious phenomenon every February: a flourishing interest in poetry. 'Got any poems, miss?' prisoners would ask, furtively, 'like love poems?'

‘Finally finding our voices’: poetry in prison

Addressing the haggis at New College Lanarkshire (HMP Greenock)
Addressing the haggis at New College Lanarkshire (HMP Greenock)

If they were asked about poetry and prison, I’d wager that many, if not most, people in Scotland today would look blank or maybe mumble something about Oscar Wilde and ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’.

The Thursday Post: Delicious Spring Poetry Events

Image of Liz Lochhead
Image of Liz Lochhead

One of the joys of working as the Programme Manager at the Scottish Poetry Library is the great wealth of fabulous event possibilities to choose from and the number of extraordinary proposals we receive for exciting and delicious poetry delights.

Poems for the hert as weel as the heid

When you learn a poem, you experience it differently. The learned poem is no longer just text on a page but, to your brain, it is a living being, a new acquaintance with whom you form intimacy and trust. Good for the brain but also good for the soul.

The Thursday Post: the T.S. Eliot Prize reading 2015

It was undoubtedly a pleasure to see the Royal Festival Hall – capacity, 2,500 – practically full for the T.S. Eliot Prize reading on Sunday; somehow we poetry readers are always surprised to find there are 2,000+ others like us out there. It’s a varied audience, too: aged from 22 to 92, I’d say (I was told about the 92-year-old), and from many different language backgrounds.

So much depends…

As I write this, we still have to finalise our closure date for the building works: I am discovering that so much depends, not exactly on a red wheelbarrow, but on all the things that come before the red wheelbarrow arrives on site.

Day Fourteen of Our Online Advent Calendar: Liz Lochhead

It's the last day of our online advent calendar. Scotland's national poet Liz Lochhead wrote a specially commissioned poem for the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting up ceremony on Thursday 4 December, 2014. Liz popped into the Library to record these seasonal words and you can hear them by opening the last door of our advent calendar.

Day Thirteen of our Online Advent Calendar: Cover art

And so on to Day Thirteen of our advent calendar. Today we have books. Lots of books. We have many cool ones in the SPL, with covers as great as the words inside. We'd like to store even more. But we're running out of room. We need your help to renovate the building so we can keep storing the best poetry books in the world. We thought we'd show off a fair selection of them on our Pinterest page, which you can visit by clicking here.

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