Image: Edinburgh International Book Festival by felibrilu, under a Creative Commons licence
It’s August, which can only mean one thing (or it does round our way). The Edinburgh International Book Festival is almost upon us. This year, the EIBF will stage something like 800 events featuring 1,000 authors. We’re delighted that poetry is well represented by many old favourites and emerging talent. With so many events, though, no one would blame you if you overlooked one or two that really deserve your attention. Which is why we’ve put together this blog, highlighting ten EIBF events you are guaranteed to enjoy.
Rachel McCrum and Miriam Nash
Sun 13 August, 6.30pm
Fresh from publishing her first collection, The First Blast to Awaken Degenerate Women, McCrum returns to Edinburgh. Formerly one half of popular ‘poetry cabaret’ hosts Rally & Broad, McCrum was BBC Scotland’s first poet in residence. Nash has also recently published a first collection, All the Prayers in the House, and was a runner-up in the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award last year.
Carol Ann Duffy
Sun 13 August, 8.15pm
The Poet Laureate returns to the EIBF to read not only her own work, but poems taken from The Map and the Clock, an anthology edited with former Welsh National Poet Gillian Clarke, which collects fourteen centuries of poetry, from early Anglo-Saxon sagas to contemporary spoken-word.
Thu 17 August, 12.15pm
Burnside will not only discuss his new collection Still Life with Feeding Snake, he’ll talk about his novel Ashland and Vine, which is also published this year. Busy man!
Sat 19 August, 5.30pm
Baker arrives in town with a debut collection in tow, The Sunshine Kid, which tells the story of his rise from maths geek to winning the World Poetry Slam Champion title in Paris.
Nick Laird and Don Paterson
Sun 20 August, 8.30pm
Laird and Paterson discuss their co-edited anthology, The Zoo of the New, which looks back over centuries of poetry in search of verse that is timeless.
Thu 24 August, 3.45pm
Muldoon will be in reflective mood as he reads from his new Selected Poems, a ‘best of’ stretching back from 1968 to the present.
Peter Mackay and Iain S Macpherson
Sat 26 August, 6.30pm
One of the more unexpected books of the past years has been An Leabhar Liath/The Light Blue Book, a collection of five centuries of erotic Gaelic poetry. Editors Mackay and Macpherson explain their inspiration.
Sun 27 August, 7.15pm
Armitage returns with his eleventh collection, which documents ‘a world on the brink, a world of unreliable seasons and unstable coordinates’.
Live Poetry Lab
Mon 21 – Wed 23, 11am to 2pm
An exciting (and free) experiment by the EIBF. Each weekday, a different poet will write live during a drop-in session at The Greenhouse 1 on George Street. Each poet’s task is to create responses to people’s memories of the festivals in Edinburgh since they began 70 years ago. You can contribute by writing down your memories and handing them in at this event. Or tweet them using #LivePoetryLab. You can also watch their writing unfold live online here.
The poets taking part are: Colin Herd (Mon), Jane McKie (Tue), J.L. Williams (Wed), Peter Mackay (Thu) and Ryan Van Winkle (Fri).
Nothing but the Poem
We’re hosting a series of reading workshops during the Festival. Poet Kate Hendry leads a relaxed discussion, with no knowledge of the poets being talked about necessary beforehand. Poems are provided.
The NbtP groups this year are:
Nothing but the Poem on John Burnside and Robert Lowell
Sun 13 August, 1pm
Nothing but the Poem on Douglas Dunn
Wed 23 August, 1pm
Nothing but the Poem on Carol Ann Duffy
Fri 25 August, 11am
Nothing but the Poem on John Milton & Michael Longley
Sat 26 August, 11am