Blog Our Sweet Old Etcetera

Behind the scenes at the Scottish Poetry Library

An Eventful Spring

Iain Sinclair by Book Aid International, under a Creative Commons licence
Iain Sinclair by Book Aid International, under a Creative Commons licence

Today, the Scottish Poetry Library launches a programme of events that will take place over this spring and into summer. Featuring poets from Russia, the programme also finds space for a rare Scottish appearance by ‘the godfather of psychogeography’ Iain Sinclair and a reading by rising star of Scottish poetry William Letford.

Three of Russia’s leading poets – Grigory Kruzhkov, Lev Oborin and Marina Boroditskaya – will visit Scotland in March for a series of events in Edinburgh (Tuesday, 14 March), Dundee (Wednesday, 15 March, part of the Dundee Literary Festival), and Glasgow (Thursday, 16 March, part of Aye Write). They will be reading alongside the Scottish poets Jen Hadfield (winner of the 2008 T.S. Eliot Prize), Christine De Luca (Edinburgh Makar) and Stewart Sanderson.

We’re delighted to welcome two of Britain’s most original writers, Iain Sinclair and Brian Catling, on Friday, 24 March, 7pm. This special event marks a rare Scottish appearance by Sinclair, London’s ‘radical laureate’ and populariser of ‘psychogeography’. Sinclair and Catling have collaborated on a number of books and projects, which they’ll discuss at this event at the SPL, as well as their latest books and how poetry informs their work. Catling is the author of the fantasy novel The Vohrr (Coronet), which has been praised by Tom Waits, Alan Moore and Michael Moorcroft. Sinclair is the author of a series of autobiographical novels and non-fiction chronicling London’s changing face. His books, which mix journalism, satire, poetry and mysticism, include Downriver (Penguin), winner of the 1992 James Tait Black Memorial Prize; and London Orbital (Penguin), his account of his circumnavigation of the M25.

The SPL’s commitment to Scottish poetry remains strong. We’ll be hosting a reading on Thursday, 23 March by Scottish poet William Letford, who returns to Edinburgh to read from his acclaimed second collection Dirt (Carcanet). Letford was a roofer before writing full-time, and his poems often reflect on his background in construction. Four Scottish poets published by Bloodaxe – Miriam Nash, MacGillivray, Cheryl Follon, and Tracy Herd – perform together on Saturday, June 10. Alan Riach launches his new collection The Winter Book with a free event on Thursday, 30 March. Scots-language poet Rab Wilson will share a stage on 5 May with Jamaican-born poet Shara McCallum, whose latest project explores Robert Burns’s connections with the Caribbean.

If you enjoyed Claudia Rankine’s Citizen or Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark, we’re holding a free workshop providing those attending with pointers on how to write their own cross-genre essays. Genre Bending Essays with Elizabeth Reeder takes place on Thursday 27 April, 10am. Then, after a day of the workshop, we'll host a free Genre Bending Essays showcase; Karine Polwart and Max Porter, two writers and performers, who both explore life and death, will share their work and be in conversation about writing, art, song and working across-genres and mediums. It will be a fantastic, unscripted event where two artists talk about how they do what they do.

Our popular series of Nothing but the Poem reading groups returns with Saturday morning sessions on T.S. Eliot Prize-winner Jacob Polley on 25 March, Shara McCallum on 29 April, Les Murray on 27 May, and Colette Bryce on 23 June.

Category: events