August will soon be with us, and with it, the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The EIBF will welcome a global gathering of novelists, playwrights, memoirists, translators – and poets. After browsing the latest EIBF brochure (copies of which can be collected from the Library), we bring you a selection of poetry highlights at this year’s EIBF.
The Library is pleased to say we are running several events at the Festival in partnership with the EIBF. We’re holding several of our reading workshops, Nothing but the Poem. Rest assured, the NbtP sessions are informal, friendly and as suited to someone who’s a fan as to someone who doesn’t know much about the author under discussion. The first Nothing but the Poem group looks at Ted Hughes Award-winner Raymond Antrobus (Wednesday, 14, 1pm). The subject of our second reading group is Niall Campbell (Wednesday 21, 1pm). The final session tackles Tom Leonard (Monday 26, 11am).
The Library is also involved in an event centred on our anthology for new teachers To Learn the Future. Our own Sam Tongue and Hannah Lavery will be on hand as will the anthology’s editor Kate Hendry, Jane Cooper and Lilias Fraser, plus poet Larry Butler.
Scotland’s National Poet or Makar Jackie Kay reads a new selection of poems inspired by travels around Scotland (Friday 16, 1.30pm). Moving from Scotland to the UK at large, the very newly former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy returns to Edinburgh to read from her latest collection Sincerity. Her successor Simon Armitage demonstrates why he was judged the person to take on British poetry’s top job (Saturday 17, 11.45am).
Edinburgh’s Makar Alan Spence welcomes to Edinburgh Sylva Fischerova, Prague’s City Poet (Wednesday 14, 3.30pm). Spence’s predecessor Christine De Luca provided poems for Carlo Pirozzi’s book on Edinburgh-born pop artist Eduardo Paolozzi, with both collaborators discussing sculpture, translation, Scotland and Italy.
Several events see groups of poets come together to celebrate individuals or, in the case of The Divan Sessions: The New Divan (Thursday 15, 6pm), Goethe’s love of Persian poetry. An impressive array of Scottish and international poets, including Robin Robertson, Don Paterson, Kathleen Jamie, Elaine Feinstein, and Sean O’Brien, perform specially commissioned poems to celebrate Goethe’s internationalism. The centenary of the late Hamish Henderson is marked by another group of poets (including Hugh McMillan, Stuart Paterson, Marcas Mac An Tuarneir, Magi Gibson and more) (Wednesday 14, 6pm). Tom Leonard, a pioneer and internationalist like Henderson, has his translation of Brecht’s Mother Courage into Scots performed by Tam Dean Burn (Wednesday 14, 8.45pm).
Scottish poets are well represented. Robert Crawford discusses The Book of Iona, a collection of writings that he has edited about the island (Saturday 10, 6.30pm). Two winners of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award read together, Niall Campbell and Roseanne Watt (Sunday 11, 6.30pm). Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone discuss Scotia Extremis, a collection of poems strained through the much discussed ‘Caledonia Antisyzgy’, each poet taking opposing sides on matters of topical interest (Monday 12, 8.30pm). Don Paterson discusses aphorisms (Monday 19, 8.45pm). Jenny Lindsay performs work from her latest collection This Script, which explores contemporary feminism (Tuesday 20, 8.30pm). Nadine Aisha Jassat reads from a collection of poems that address gender-based violence and the bonds between women (Friday 23, 7pm).
Elsewhere, Elaine Feinstein and Lavinia Greenlaw read from new collections (Thursday 15, 10.15am). Kei Miller and Inua Ellams celebrate the power of narrative verse (Saturday 17, 8.30pm). Linton Kwesi Johnson reads poems about Jamaican social worker and poet Mikey Smith (Sunday 18, 9.45pm). Benjamin Zephaniah promotes his new autobiography, revealing the story of how he became one of the UK’s most popular poet (Saturday 17, 6.45pm). Goenawan Mohamad, a leading Indonesian poet, essayist and playwright, discusses literature and dissent (Saturday 24, 6.30pm). Janette Ayachi, Liz Berry, Toria Garbutt and Claire Pollard offer new perspectives on motherhood (Saturday 17, 12.30pm). Two poets offer queer experiences on contemporary British life, Iain Morrison and Jay Bernard (Friday 16, 8.30pm).
For more details and to book tickets click here.