W.S. Graham at 100: Centenary news

Working with a range of partner organisations, key centenary activities include:

1. The publication of an anthology, The Caught Habits of Language, a tribute anthology offering 100 poems to celebrate W.S. Graham’s 100 years. The anthology features twenty previously unpublished poems by W.S. Graham himself, alongside tributes from authors from a range of countries and generations, writing from across the spectrum of poetics. It also features many previously unseen photographs from the estate archives. Published by Donut Press.

2. The unveiling of a memorial stone in the Makars’ Court, Edinburgh, on June 14 at 12.45, featuring Scots Makar, Jackie Kay.

3. The donation of W.S. Graham’s writing chair to the Scottish Poetry Library, and a celebratory reading at the library, which featured the National Poet for Scotland or Makar Jackie Kay, with Alan Gillis, Ruth Rosen and Nuala Watt, on 14 June. Graham has a special connection with the Scottish Poetry Library as we have possession of the desk he wrote at, the ‘Untidy Dreadful Table’ of his poem of that name.

4. Nationwide celebratory events, including Newcastle Poetry Festival, 4 May at 2.30pm, which featured tributes from Emily Critchley, Ian Duhig and Denise Riley; and Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival, 27 May, which featured a talk by Tony Lopez and ‘The Moor, The Sea & The Moon: Poetry, Dance and Visual Art’. Other events include Ilkley Literature Festival in October, and a reading event in London in December in association with The Poetry Society. More details to follow.

5. A special W.S. Graham edition of BBC Radio 3’s The Verb was recorded at the St Ives Art Club in March and broadcast on 6 April.

6. A community engagement programme in association with Inverclyde Council, including a heritage ‘word road’ walking tour, the commissioning of visual art works and film poems, and also a range of workshops in Inverclyde schools and communities – culminating in a special reading at the Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, 17 November. Performers will include Rachael Boast, Jim Carruth (Glasgow Makar), Robert Crawford, W.N Herbert (Dundee Makar), Kathleen Jamie and Marion McCready.

7. A poetry competition for pupils in Inverclyde Secondary Schools, run in partnership with Inverclyde Council, the Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Poetry Library. Click here for full details of the competition. Open for entries from 3 September to midnight on 12 October. Competition theme: The Rebel.

8. Two poetry competitions in association with The Poetry Society:

  • ‘W.S. Graham Poetry Challenge’, for the Society’s Young Poets Network.
  • ‘Members Poems’ competition, which will challenge all Society members to write on a theme explored by W.S. Graham.

9. Faber & Faber will be hosting a ‘W.S. Graham Day’ on social media on Monday 19th November 2018, Graham’s 100th birthday.

This page will be updated throughout the year as further events are confirmed.

Image: Copyright © the Estate of Michael Seward Snow, 2018. All rights reserved.