Blog Our Sweet Old Etcetera

Behind the scenes at the Scottish Poetry Library

The Thursday Post: See Hear

Here, at the SPL, we are very proud of our podcast series. We posted our first podcast back in February, 2009, with Ryan Van Winkle the series’ original presenter. Three years later, Jennifer Williams and Colin Waters joined as presenters, with the series going from strength to strength. We’ve interviewed poets based all around the world and close to home, big names and emerging talent. Search our website and you’ll find interviews with Liz Lochhead, Don Paterson, Kathleen Jamie, Kate Tempest, Blake Morrison, Mark Doty, Kay Ryan; poets from Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, the USA, Germany, Spain, Russia, Jamaica, India, South Korea, Australia, Uruguay, Poland, New Zealand, Canada, Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Singapore…

Okay, enough self-congratulation. Since 2014, when the SPL participated in Creative Scotland’s Promoting Equalities Programme, we’ve grown aware that there a number of communities we could and should be doing more to engage with. One such community is the D / deaf. Twenty percent of the UK population have some form of hearing loss. For people over 40, the percentage who suffer a degree of hearing loss rises to 40 percent.

In 2014, we helped to produce a short film based on British Sigh Language (BSL) poet Gary Quinn’s poem ‘The stars are the map I unfurl’. We’ve held BSL poetry workshops, we have a hearing loop, and Kyra Pollit, BSL interpreter, poetry researcher and artist, has joined the SPL board. We’re aware, however, that there is so much more we can do. This is the 21st century and providing equality of services across the board is a matter of human rights.

So, today, we’re announcing a small step in the right direction. We are aware that if you have hearing loss, enjoyment of our podcasts is going to be restricted. With that in mind, we’ve begun the task of transcribing our podcasts. The work is slow and ongoing, but we will continue with it because it’s the right thing to do. As of today, you can read transcripts of podcasts by

Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, we can’t reproduce the poetry read during the podcasts, but the interviews themselves are presented as they happened. Of course, you don’t have to have hearing loss to read the transcripts. Perhaps you prefer to read to listening; or you’re a student writing a paper on one of the poets we’ve transcribed and want to search the text for a particular quote.

Our commitment to improving services for the D / deaf community is ongoing. Watch this space for more announcements.

Category: Scottish Poetry Library