Reading groups

A reading group at the Scottish Poetry Library

Whether you like to read a whole poetry collection or a single poem, whether you're happy to dive in or you feel you might need some support, we think we have the group for you.

The wide range of readers who come to SPL reading groups tend to say that exploring poetry with other readers is a world away from a school classroom. These group sessions are not about teachers and learners, or passing and failing; but about adults sharing, arguing and frequently changing opinions.

Each group is facilitated (not taught) by a member of SPL staff, to help steer the conversation and make sure everybody gets a word in edgeways. We don’t ‘break poems down’, but we do encourage the group to spend time exploring poems, getting to know them, reading them aloud and enjoying those great moments when thoughtful reading pays off with new and exciting insights.

Reading Groups at the Scottish Poetry Library

Getting Into Poetry

A short, friendly and workable refresher course if you want to brush up your reading skills or get some inspiration on what to read next. Over four sessions, the course works through hands-on reading skills, revives your confidence in group discussion, explores forms ranging from sonnets to the concrete poetry in the Edwin Morgan Archive, and helps you explore what you want to read next.

The course is led by Lilias Fraser and Julie Johnstone.

Nothing But the Poem

A handful of poems to discover at each session –  no preparation required, no previous knowledge, just the pleasure of exploring poems in good company. A facilitator runs the session and helps you find a satisfying and rewarding level of concentration.

Upcoming sessions

These sessions have been very popular and very busy, so we will run each session twice in Spring 2012, on Thursday evenings from 6-7.30pm, and again on Saturday mornings from 11am-12.30pm. Please book for either the Thursday or Saturday session by emailing If you'd like to be added to our reading group mailing list, please email 

Useful resources for your own reading groups

If you are thinking of starting a group, or are already running one, we’d love to hear from you and will be very happy to help in any way we can. You might find several of the downloadable resources in our New to poetry? and For librarians sections useful, such as our set of three guides on how to read a single poem, a collection, or an anthology. We can also recommend individual poems and book titles to get you started.