An opportunity has arisen for a Scotland-based poet to take up a commission at one of the country’s most exciting new buildings. Parabola, the developer who owns 43 acres of undeveloped land to the south of the capital’s Edinburgh Park, has announced that the Turner Prize-nominated David Mach has been commissioned to design a unique multipurpose building made from shipping containers. Named Mach 1, it will be David Mach’s first building.
The poet chosen for the commission will be expected to produce a long poem, for which they will be paid £3,000; the poet will also be expected to perform the piece at Mach 1 in early summer 2020. The commission is open to all age groups. Parabola are looking to work with and encourage writers in the first phase of their career, so are looking for early-career poets to apply for the commission. We are defining early-career as meaning in this instance a poet who has published no more than two book-length collections of poetry. Poets who have had no books published are very welcome to apply for the commission. Poets who have had three or more collections published should not in this instance apply, regardless of their age. We are not counting pamphlets as book-length collections; poets can have published multiple pamphlets and still apply.
The £3,000 fee is meant to cover all costs, including travel, so while any poet based in Scotland is eligible to take part, it may be the case that it proves more workable for those based in the Edinburgh area. The SPL will offer mentoring support during the commission.
Those applying for the post should enclose a covering letter containing a declaration of intent with regards to the commission as well as information on their writing career so far, confirming that they have had two or fewer collections published. The covering letter should be completed in addition to three poems responding to place, an artwork or built environment; to be clear here, we’re not asking poets to provide evidence of commissions they’ve worked on before relating to place; we’re simply asking for poems about places, art or buildings. These poems can have been published or be unpublished.
The deadline for submitting works is September 13, 5pm. Entries should either be posted to Mach 1: Poetry Commission at Edinburgh Park, c/o Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT or emailed to Hannah Lavery, Learning & Engagement Co-ordinator of the SPL, at email@example.com.
Parabola has confirmed that work at Edinburgh Park on the first phase of the creation of a new quarter of the city is to begin within weeks. An arts programme is being developed by Parabola, under the direction of Arts Curator Matthew Jarratt. Parabola will offer opportunities for a young writer and a photographer, both of whom will respond to the construction activity on site, and exhibit in the marketing suite. Their work will offer opportunities for outreach with local schools.
Fife-born Mach is known for his large-scale collages, sculptures and installations using a wide range of materials, including coat hangers, matches, magazines, and tyres. His public commissions include Big Heids, which is visible from the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh. For Mach 1, he will work with shipping containers. Mach will work closely with Stirling Prize-nominated architects Dixon Jones.
Mach says, ‘What we are planning to build, is a substantial building, made from around 30 sea containers. There is quite a dramatic shape to the building, not a regular piece of architecture. It will be something that you really notice. It’s a building with a promise of a life in other ways – as a Fringe venue, a great place for comedy, for music, for talks. The look of the building is the important thing to me as a sculptor and now as an “accidental architect”.’
The first phase of new development includes offices, a new public square, sports and leisure facilities including football pitches and tennis courts, shops, bars, restaurants, a health centre, and extensive landscaping. There is also to be a performance arts space in the very first phase building constructed.
- The poet chosen for the commission will be expected to produce a long poem, for which they will be paid £3,000.
- The poet will also be expected to perform the piece at Mach 1 in early summer 2020.
- Those applying can be any age but must be an early-career poet. (See above for our definition of an early-career poet).
- The close of the competition is September 13, 5pm.
- The £3,000 fee is meant to cover all expenses, including travel.
- The SPL will offer mentoring support during the commission.
- Those applying for the post should provide three examples of work related to place or be a response to an artwork or the built environment. Submissions can be made in English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic (Scots language and Scottish Gaelic submissions must be made with a parallel translation). These poems can have been published or are unpublished.
- Entries should either be posted to Mach 1: Poetry Commission at Edinburgh Park, c/o Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT or emailed to Hannah Lavery, Learning & Engagement Co-ordinator of the SPL, at firstname.lastname@example.org.