Blog Our Sweet Old Etcetera

Blog Our Sweet Old Etcetera

Behind the scenes at the Scottish Poetry Library

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Browning versions

It’s shaping up to be a year of bicentenaries. We’ve already had two – Charles Dickens and Edward Lear – and on 7 May, Robert Browning makes it a third. As we remember him, we also recall the musical based on his famed romance with Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

'Is there anybody there?' A century of 'The Listeners'

May 2012 marks the centenary of the publication of Walter de la Mare's The Listeners. Why does this mysterious poem still command attention while the reputation of its author has dimmed?

Ali Smith on Margaret Tait: 'argumentative, spontaneous-seeming and energetic'

Ali Smith believes Margaret Tait is one of the most bafflingly overlooked of Scotland’s versatile twentieth-century artists. In an extract from the foreword to a new collection of Tait's writings, Smith explains why this poet and filmmaker matters.

‘EM was here and is’

A new poem by David Kinloch is a personal look at Edwin Morgan's legacy.

Picturing Shakespeare

Few have added to the glory of England and its language in the way Shakespeare did – and continues to. In the same week that Edwin Morgan would have celebrated his 92nd birthday, we take a look at the poem he wrote about the bard.

Laird Byron

Lord Byron only spent the first 10 years of his life in Scotland, and once he left, he never returned, at least not in person; his imagination is another matter entirely. Just how Scottish was Byron?

Lost for Words? Can you help?

Here at the SPL, we often field enquiries from users curious about verse they don’t know the origins of. This time, our poetry 'detective' needs your help.

In the Wake of the Titanic

Outside of war, has there ever been a public event that has inspired as many poems as the sinking of the Titanic on 15 April 1912? While the ship itself proved mortal, as a subject it is invincible.

Flowery language

The incident that inspired 'I wandered lonely as a Cloud' (also known as 'Daffodils') took place 210 years ago this weekend. The poem confirmed the flowering of Wordsworth's talent. How did he come to write it? And what was the reaction of his contemporaries?

Cracking open Easter

What's Easter for? The Church? Chocolate? Family? And can poetry help us decide?

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