Twelve poets, twelve visits, seven Commonwealth nations. Now the postcards are here!
We’re past the halfway mark now with our Commonwealth Poets United project. Just in case you’re unaware of what it is – Commonwealth Poets United is an international exchange between six Scottish poets and poets from six Commonwealth nations: Canada, India, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria and South Africa. The idea is to establish relationships between artists, organisations and communities. While in Scotland our Commonwealth visiting poets take part in book festivals, visit schools and get to know their exchange partners.
TONY BENN by Pyere, under a Creative Commons licence
Jamaica’s Tanya Shirley is a participant in the SPL’s Commonwealth Poets United project. She visited the Scottish Poetry Library to read poems about her gun-toting grandfather and the facets of Jamaican life revealed by her work.
From next week, visitors to the SPL will be able to pick up a copy of our bi-annual newsletter, the Poetry Reader. SPL Director Robyn Marsack introduces the latest issue:
Two Hawthornden Fellows Lynn Davidson and Alyson Hallett talk about where they come from, loneliness versus aloneness, and their current and upcoming work.
Robyn Marsack, Director
Candles by Andrew Whalley, under a Creative Commons licence
National Poetry Day is less than a month away, which I'm sure you are aware. I imagine the date – Thursday, October 3 – is marked in giant flaming letters in your diary. On the day, we shall be tweeting lines from poems that tie in with NPD 2013's theme, 'water', and in the evening we shall be hosting a wonderful celebration of poetry with the help of two poets originally from New Zealand, C.K.
September sees our Walking With Poets project arrive at its final garden, Dawyck. Our fourth garden poet is Gerry Loose. In addition to poetry, Gerry has also made films and staged his own plays and art exhibitions. He has worked with the Botanic Gardens in Kyoto and his ‘Seed Catalogue’ exhibition and book gave him access to gardens round the world, from New Zealand to Siberia.
The theme for 2013’s National Poetry Day is ‘water’. So how appropriate that one of the poets who will be reading at the SPL on NPD (Thursday, 3 October), C.K. Stead, has a new collection called The Yellow Buoy. For the most recent issue of our newsletter, the Poetry Reader, we asked the poet and novelist to tell us what he’s been reading of late…
When do you get to read?
Lord Wavell called his hugely successful anthology of favourite poems Other Men’s Flowers, after the literal meaning of the Greek ‘anthologia’, flower-gathering, and this process of making your own bouquet is deeply personal even when it aspires to be representative or neutral. Lots of readers, I’m sure, have a notebook or two that constitute their own anthologies. I have one, and it documents as much as anything an evolution of taste – it’s a stray reading collection culled mostly from magazines or indeed from other anthologies.