Meet our new cohort of talented young poets: Calum Rodger, Nazaret Ranea, Ben Mann, Kate Millar and Catriona Ross. The youthful makars were selected following a call for submissions from aspiring artists aged 16 to 25. Our judging panel included Laura Fyfe, Stirling’s Makar.
The poets will be mentored by more established writers Tom Murray, Janette Ayachi, Michael Pedersen, Aoife Lyall and Niall O’Gallagher (Glasgow’s Gaelic Makar). These mentors had all agreed to stay on for an additional year, such was the value and enjoyment of their participation in the inaugural programme in 2022.
The young makars will be mentored over the summer for a total of three sessions. The Scottish Poetry Library will seek opportunities for the group to present their work in public, commencing with Bards at the Barracks, an Army at the Fringe programme of poetry in Edinburgh from 22 to 25 August.
Calum Rodger, 19
Bathgate, West Lothian
What I love about poetry is its power to express complex feelings and paint vivid images in just a few lines.
The freedom of poetic voice also allows us to create personas and give voice to inanimate objects or voiceless beings, such as the sea, for example.
You are able to create incredibly specific atmospheres, whether they’re uncanny, meditative, or vengeful, thanks to how much flexibility you have with poetry’s form; to me, this is a quality unique to poetry.
Nazaret Ranea, 24
For me, poetry is the most powerful medium to express specific emotions, reflections, and scenes. It is crucial that my poetry always remains honest, simple, and meaningful.
There is a profound connection when you read someone else’s poetry and find that their words perfectly encapsulate your own emotions. I firmly believe that poetry transcends boundaries and speaks to us on a universal level, making it the purest form of conveying feelings that other art forms often struggle to achieve.
Ben Mann, 23
I fell in love with poetry’s ability to encompass sharing.
Its compact capacity to trigger an emotional response, to create, partake and represent the multifaceted dialogues which interlace individual human experience, the ever-evolving maze we call culture and the sheer bonnie beauty of how some words strut and sing when stacked side by side.
Kate Millar, 22
It is hard to say succinctly what I love about poetry. It is language and imagery cracked open, turned on its head, liberated and surprising. It is the gift of attention. An invitation to meditate on beauty, pain, tension, paradox. It draws us from the surface of our lives to the depths. It is prayer.
Catriona Ross, 24 (Gaelic)
I like poetry because of how it can make me feel and when a poem changes something within me – whether that’s an urge to call a family member or to join a trade union.