Poetry comes in many shapes, sizes and varieties – and we don’t just mean the poems themselves. From postcards to posters, poems can expand or contract to whatever size is available. Pamphlets represent one of the most buoyant areas in which poetry is published today. They are not merely way-stations poets pass on their way to collections proper. Pamphlets, by their nature, encourage innovation and playfulness, not just on the part of the poet, but the publisher too.
The annual Callum Macdonald Memorial Award (CMMA) is for the publisher of an outstanding example of pamphlet poetry published during the previous year. Established in 2001 in memory of Scottish publisher Callum Macdonald, this award was created to encourage, recognise and reward the publication of poetry in pamphlet form. In rewarding the publisher of an outstanding example of pamphlet poetry published during the previous year, rather than a poet, it is a unique award in Scotland. Entries are judged both on the aesthetic design and craft of the publication as well as the quality of the writing. The pamphlet or its publisher has to have a connection with Scotland or Scottish culture.
From 2001 to 2018 the CMMA was supported by the National Library of Scotland. From this year, the Scottish Poetry Library will manage the administration of the award in partnership with the Saltire Society. For the first time, this year the CMMA will be presented along with the Saltire Literary Awards (in November 2019). The Library’s connection to the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award is a personal one; it was founded by Macdonald’s widow, Tessa Ransford; Ransford was also the founding director of the Library.
This year’s CMMA prize is £500 for the winning publisher and the winning poet will receive an additional award of an ‘Inspiring Scotland Bursary’ from the Saltire Society. The Inspiring Scotland Bursary Programme, supported by the Saltire Society Trust, was established to celebrate creatives, based in Scotland, who demonstrate exceptional work. The bursary is for a maximum of £1,500 to support one of the following:
• A second print of the winning pamphlet
• The print of another pamphlet by the winning poet
• Travel to Book festivals to take part
The deadline for submissions from publishers is Friday, 4 October 2019, 5pm. A short-list of five will be announced along with the rest of the Saltire Literary Awards categories short-lists later in October.
Entries must be accompanied with this form completed.
Staff and board members of the SPL and the Saltire Society are not eligible to take part in this competition.
Publishers may submit up to five pamphlets, which should be no less than six or more than 36 pages in length, not including the preliminaries. Bindings should be limp cover; folded, rather than case bound.
Poems can be on any subject and may include material in any of the languages used in Scotland, with translations in English or in Scots. Submitted work must have been published from March 2018 to September 2019 (in future years the call for submissions will cover a cycle of October to September to fit in with the November awards ceremony). Publisher and poet may be the same person.
Each entry should be accompanied by four copies of the pamphlet and a short note explaining the aims of the publication and the aesthetic choices made, outlining the connection the poet or publisher has with Scotland or Scottish culture. There is space on the form to write this explanation.
The judges for the Callum MacDonald Award 2019 are:
Mairi Oliver (Lighthouse Books)
Gordon Munro (Co-Chair, SPL Board)
Edward Crossan (Birlinn / Polygon publisher)
Matt Macdonald (poet and the Macdonald family representative)
The meetings were convened by Samuel Tongue, the SPL’s Project Coordinator.
NB – Edward Crossan agreed to recuse himself from discussions of a pamphlet submitted by the publisher for which he works.
The judges will change on an annual basis, by the invitation of the SPL.