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Behind the scenes at the Scottish Poetry Library

BBC Scotland's Poet in Residence 2017

BBC Scotland, in collaboration with the Scottish Poetry Library, is searching for a new poet-in-residence. Building on the success of their first residency in 2015, BBC Scotland is offering poets at the start of their career a platform from which to talk to the country. Do you have a fresh take on the events that get Scots talking? Could you be a champion for poetry?

The BBC is offering an early career poet based in Scotland a four month residency at BBC Scotland. Who, you might ask yourself, qualifies as the sort of ‘early career’ poet BBC Scotland has in mind? The first thing to say is that it doesn’t refer to age; we invite poets of all ages to apply. The poet could, for example, have up to two collections published.

The poet will have a strong track record, which in turn shows promise; he or she must have a work ethic and a hunger to develop their writing and performance skills. The poet must be articulate and confident enough to explain and perform their work on air and make the case for poetry.

Poets who demonstrate that they’ve thought hard about what they’d like to do with their residency possess a better chance of being interviewed for the post. As the poet will be called upon, perhaps at short notice, to respond to events, he or she must be flexible and quick-witted.

The residency takes place over four months, launching in September 2017, on National Poetry Day, and ending on Burns Night in 2018. The successful poet will work with a variety of teams across the BBC to bring poetry to diverse audiences in Scotland. He or she will contribute a minimum of 15 poems and contributions for multi-platform use across radio, television, online and social media. The work will tie in, in some instances, with news stories or seasonal celebrations. The BBC and Scottish Poetry Library will provide the poet with support during their residency.

The successful poet will work principally with BBC Radio Scotland’s topical arts strand, The Janice Forsyth Show, and will liaise with the BBC Scotland Project Lead. The successful poet will also work with BBC Scotland learning teams to bring poetry to children and young people in up to three workshops and events for schools.

There’s more. The poet will be paid £4000 for the residency.

In 2015, Rachel McCrum was the BBC Radio Scotland’s first poet in residence. She says, ‘I’m absolutely delighted that BBC Scotland is looking for a new Poet. Opportunities to put poetry on a platform like the BBC are rare and far between, and I wish the new poet all the very best. You will end up in wonderful wild places (Kirkwall...Beinn a Bhuird...St Mirren's football grounds). You will meet good folk, great broadcasters and some of the best schoolkid poets you could hope to meet. You will work hard, you'll stretch your poetry to new spaces, you will rise to meet the challenges, and you'll have the greatest of times doing it. Good luck!'

Asif Khan, Director of the SPL, says, ‘This residency offers a unique opportunity for a poet based in Scotland to engage with the wide range of themes and content produced and broadcast by BBC Scotland. Poetry is treasured in Scotland, and is an ideal medium for conveying to audiences the emotional impact and comment on the human condition of features presented in areas like news, current affairs and sport.’

So, fancy giving it a bash? Applicants must submit up to 6 poems, links to video / audio performance footage if available, a CV and a statement of no more than 800 words outlining your approach to this residency, and what you would like to achieve as BBC Scotland’s Poet in Residence.

Applications should be sent via email to The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 30th of June.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to take part in an interview at BBC Scotland, Pacific Quay Glasgow on Thursday 13th July. The successful candidate will then be notified.

If you have any questions about the residency, please email

Category: poets