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Behind the scenes at the Scottish Poetry Library

A Festival of Poetry this August

Edinburgh Festival 250811_0172-27.jpg by Hugh Simmons, under a Creative Commons licence

This August, Edinburgh will echo with the sound of poetry. From all corners of the capital verse can be heard as poets, both local and from far-flung places, arrive to read their work. The Edinburgh International Book Festival is the obvious starting point, with turns by the likes of Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, and Liz Lochhead. But it isn’t the only place to look.

The Edinburgh Book Fringe brings together spiky and alternative voices including Tom Leonard and Stewart Conn. Over at Summerhall, they are hosting the cream of Irish and Canadian poets, as well as an intimate show, Red, Like Our Room Used to Be, by former SPL Reader in Residence and current host of our podcasts, Ryan Van Winkle.

Later on in the month, St John’s Church on Princes Street puts on a series of lunchtime readings, Poetry in the Persian Tent, raising money for Oxfam’s Old MacDonald had a Farm for Africa Project. A starry cast of poets has signed up: Liz Lochhead, Jackie Kay, and Aonghas MacNeacail, as well as promising young poets William Letford and Niall Campbell, to name but a few.

From the 13th to the 25th, the SPL will be hosting its own series of events, the Courtyard Readings. Participants come to read their own or others work outside the SPL. You can sign up on the day. Fingers crossed the weather is fine.

With so much poetry in the air, you’d be forgiven for not knowing where to start. Which is where the SPL comes in. Over the next fortnight or so, we’re going to do our best to cover as much of the poetry events in the capital that we can and report back to you. Keep watching our Twitter stream, Facebook page, and blog for reviews, photos, and observations over the next fortnight. Even if you’re not in Edinburgh, you’ll feel as if you were.