Despite the pandemic and lockdown, National Poetry Day will take place next week on Thursday 1 October. Naturally, with safety measures in place, we can’t stage our usual exuberant celebrations to mark the date (warm memories of last year’s ‘Sweetshop of Words’ ran by the brilliant Sally Crabtree), but we do have a brilliant online alternative.
From next Thursday onwards, from 10am, you’ll be able to watch a film we made earlier this week. The film will feature the irrepressible John Hegley, who reads his poems and is interviewed by fellow poet and Neu Reekie maestro Michael Pedersen. The theme of NPD 2020 is ‘vision’ (do you see what they did there?) and who better to front the SPL’s NPD celebrations than the poet laureate of spectacles. Click here if you want to learn more about John and his obsession with glasses and potatoes.
The video will be available to watch via YouTube. We’ll feature the video on a blog page plus we’ll share links via our social media.
Michael says of his chat with John, ‘This discussion was a wonderful impetus to burrow into the back catalogue of one of the UK’s most prolific and cherished poets — both in book form and the digital archive. There’s so much content, character and curiousness to feast on. As with all vivacious performers, the conversation took several unexpected turns, and constantly changed key. I ate my first biscuit in over half a decade and our camera man made his singing debut. It got very French, very Keats, very Edwin Morgan, very tender, very teasing, very John Hegley.’
(And remember, folks, if you want to read more Hegley, his books and others can be borrowed from the SPL via postal loans or our click and collect service. Learn more here.)
Don’t forget our Champions project, where we commissioned 20 new poems from poets outside the central belt as well as poets who write in Scots or Gaelic. All these new poems are on the theme of ‘vision’. We’ll be tweeting lines from them throughout the day via our Twitter channel @byleaveswelive.
Given the theme, we’ve also looked out a collection of items from our archives which have a visual element, from concrete poetry to art books. We’ll be sharing these images via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook on Thursday.