Dear Poets and all those interested in writing poetry:
The Scottish Poetry Library cannot publish your work, but we can provide you with the books, poetry and resources to develop your writing and help you find publication.
If you're in the area, please come visit us. Exploring the library and our books on creativity and writing, as well as all our beautiful books of poetry, is a wonderful way to kick start your pen when it is lagging, or find inspiration if it is running dry.
If you want to meet and work with other poets, you might like to join our SPL Poetry Workshop. If you are interested, have a look on our events listings and book yourself in for upcoming dates here.
Another great resource is coaching in the form of One-to-One Professional Development Planning Sessions for Poets with Philippa Johnston, offered in association with the Scottish Poetry Library. Telephone Philippa Johnston on 01337 842513 / 07939 312829 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and to book a session.
In 2013 the poet John Glenday is running a series of poetry surgeries at the SPL thanks to the Poetry Society. You can book online at Poetry Society or contact Paul McGrane: 020 7420 9881, email@example.com.
We often host additional poetry courses and workshops, so do keep an eye on our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed for more details. And of course we run a regular programme of events including readings by poets from all over the world. One of the best ways to learn about poetry is to hear it coming from the mouth of the poet.
Please have a look at some tips and resources below, and explore our website and poetry resources on the internet in general. There's a lot of poetry and advice available free online. Hope to see you at an event at the SPL soon and do say hello if you come along.
Read… read… read… and listen too.
- The more poetry you read, the better your own poetry will become. Immerse yourself in poetry.
- We have poetry from all over the world in our collection, as well as many guides to reading and writing poetry.
- Explore international via poetry magazines and festivals, such as Ratković’s Poetry Evenings and Poetry East West.
- Visit the Library and browse our shelves and collections.
- Explore our online catalogue.
- Become a borrower and borrow in person or by post.
- Read lots of single poems online by exploring our online poem stacks and poets section.
- Browse the online poem stacks by tag to explore themes and make discoveries and connections.
- Read Best Scottish Poems, our annual online anthology of the best 20 Scottish poems.
- Listen to poets talk about their work in our podcasts.
- Listen to poets on CD in our audio collection, or on the Poetry Archive website.
- Subscribe to some poetry magazines or drop in to read from our large collection.
- Dip into our pamphlet boxes. When you’re starting out, sending your poems to magazines, or publishing a small pamphlet may be the best approach. Visit www.scottish-pamphlet-poetry.com to find out how other poets are doing this.
- Have a look at our online publisher pages to see what’s getting published.
- Go and listen to other poets reading or speaking around Scotland.
- Check out Mslexia's online writing workshops.
- Join a poetry reading group, or start one yourself, see our reading groups information page for guidance.
- Try a writing web tool or app like Tranquillity or Ommwriter.
- For help with performance and voice coaching, contact expert Alex Gillon.
- Have a read of these inspiring words by poet Daljit Nagra.
We’re always happy to help with advice and ideas. Just contact us and we'll try to help.
Join a group
- Many new poets find joining a group that offers constructive feedback useful.
- Attend our monthly SPL Poetry Workshops. You can book yourself in for them here.
- Try the School of Poets who meet on the second Tuesday of every month at the Library from 6pm.
- Browse other writing groups in our writers group page.
- Your local public library will know about groups meeting in your area too.
- Try your poems out at an open mic session.
Tipsheets and resources
Download some of our tipsheets for writers (pdfs):
- How to read a poem
- How to read a single collection
- How to read an anthology
- Starting to write by Donny O'Rourke
- Sound and rhythm by Andrew Philip
- Getting your poetry published by Helena Nelson
- Poetry & literary magazines list
- Reading poems aloud 1 by Elspeth Murray & Lorna Irvine
- Reading poems aloud 2 by Elspeth Murray & Lorna Irvine
- Writing a poetry review 1 by Roddy Lumsden
- Writing a poetry review 2 by Stuart Kelly
- Writing in the Community: Making Workshops Work by Drew Campbell
- Boosting your income with freelance journalism by Fiona Gibson
- Your Book Needs You! Busting the Myths of Promotion by Sara Sheridan
- Text Sells! Writing for Business by Jules Horne
- A guide for poets publishing their work in ezines by Chris McCabe
- Self-publishing for Poets by Gerry Cambridge
- Getting Started as a Writer in Schools
- Getting Started as a Writer in the Community
- Getting Started as a Writer in Health and Social Care Settings
- National and regional resources for writers and literature professionals in Scotland
- Poets.org Website
- Resources for Poets Website
- The Poetry Library in the Southbank Website - their list of poetry magazines is an excellent resource for those seeking publication.
- The End Inside It, a lecture by the American poet Marianne Boruch
And below, a series of six articles by poets Ken Cockburn, Margot Henderson, Kate Hendry, Elspeth Murray, Liz Niven and JL Williams on keeping the creative flame alive.
- Shared Space by Ken Cockburn
- Living Words by Margot Henderson
- Four Ways by Kate Hendry
- Theory and Reality by Elspeth Murray
- Day Jobs by Liz Niven
- Write First Work Later by JL Williams
A huge thanks to Philippa Johnston, The Writer’s Compass and NAWE for allowing us to publish some of their fabulous resource materials.
More links to inspriation
- StAnza Poetry Podcast by Colin Fraser of Anon Poetry Magazine
- Poetry Foundation Podcast
- New Yorker Fiction Podcast
- Paris Review Kay Ryan Interview
- Kay Ryan goes to AWP