To mark St Andrews Day, the Scottish Poetry Library is adding 14 new names to its Online Guide to Scottish Poets, improving its representation of poets writing in Scots and Gaelic. Earlier this year the Library invited the public to submit names of poets not covered already in the Online Guide.
The SPL website’s Online Guide to Scottish Poets is a reference tool for anyone researching Scottish poetry. Currently the guide has more than 900 entries. To be eligible for being added to the online guide, poets must be resident or have been resident in Scotland or be Scottish by birth, upbringing or inclination. Nominated poets can be living or dead.
Almost 50 nominations were received by the SPL and all were considered by a panel of four poetry ‘Ambassadors’ and the Head Librarian of the Scottish Poetry Library, using the criteria specified when the request for nominations was announced. The Ambassadors are Aoife Lyall, Ceitidh Campbell, Hugh McMillan and Thomas Clark.
Criteria for inclusion included:
- Have a significant body of work that demonstrates a track record of published poetry.
- The poet wins a major writing prize or is short-listed for one.
- Has made or is making a significant contribution to the visibility of under-represented groups in Scottish poetry such as class, race, language or disability.
- Peers, academics and critics paying significant critical attention to the poet’s work
The 14 poets chosen by public nomination will each have an entry added to the Online Guide in the new year. The poets include:
- Aileen Ballantyne
- Sharon Black
- Patrick Errington
- Jim Ferguson
- Marjorie L Gill
- Vicki Husband
- Jim Mackintosh
- Mairi Mhor
- Josie Neill
- Anne Pia
- Leela Soma
- Sheila Templeton
- Marcas Mac an Tuaineir
- Jay Whittaker
The request for nominations will be a biennial event, and the selection panel would like to encourage nominees not selected on this occasion to try again.
Jill Mackintosh, Head Librarian, says, ‘Our Online Guide is a popular resource for lovers of poetry the world over. Finding the best and fairest method for selecting poets to be added to the guide is something that staff at the Scottish Poetry Library have been considering for some time. I’m delighted at the number of nominations received and also reassured by the democratic process in place for future selection of poets for the guide.’