One thing to do is to declaim those words you wrote in the rough order you wrote them and to do it toward an assortment of assembled strangers for then you will see what happens…
Edinburgh is well-stocked in ‘open-mic’ opportunities- you can afford to be picky. Here’s a brief list-
WARNING: many open mic/literary events appear and disappear, particularly since the pandemic. There’s a good chance that this list is now out-of-date, so please check carefully before you set out for the night!
- ‘From The Horses Mouth’ at The Royal Dick Bar in Summerhall, Summerhall Pl, EH9 1PL. 7-10pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month and the night comes with a show of gratitude- a free drink and a bite to eat for your performance.
- Inky Fingers at Lighthouse Books is on the 1st Tuesday of each month. A jabbering hub of a thing- up at the front it’s Ross and Freddy welcoming a host of hand-made literature. It’s free with donations warmly accepted because each night has a chosen, featured poet and the aim to pay them for their words. Either side are a number of 5 minute open slots, one of which you could ask to be reserved with your monogram on it. Probably best to go along to a couple first, get the measure, browse the shop, have a chat, I’m sure there’s worse to do. 43 West Nicholson Street EH8 9DB.
- Loud Poets roughly monthly night at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, 7.30-10pm, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR. , £8. ‘Slam poets’ open mic nights sweep the nation‘ quivered The Scotsman last year. I’m not sure the words ‘slam’ and ‘poetry’ go so well together, but a little competition curries a relative spice and suddenly people are ‘queuing up’ around the country.
There are also the more discursive and formally critical manners in which you could engage:
Open Book host reading and writing events at the SPL as well as at the McDonald Road Library, the Open Door Cafe in Morningside, the Royal Botanic Gardens, National Galleries of Scotland, the Fruitmarket Gallery, the Stills Gallery, Craigmillar Library and Dower House in Corstorphine. Actually, that’s just the beginning; they organise groups and host events all across Scotland. Have a look at their website for more details.
Visible Ink – Holds itself up at Tollcross Community Centre for all kinds to read and receive, even in various stages of incomplete construction, head along without telling a soul and find yourself welcome – Tuesdays, 6.45- 8.45, 2 quid but your first week is always free – 117 Fountainbridge, EH3 9QG.
Helen Boden runs various creative writing groups-
- The South Side Writers at the Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St, EH8 9ER
- The Third Thursday ekphrastic group which meets in and takes its inspiration from a different Edinburgh gallery each month
- And the Lochend Community Writing group.
Captain’s Inkwell – Meets at the City Of Edinburgh Council’s South Neighbourhood Office & Library (Gracemount Library) which would take a bit of shoe-horning into a poem, but I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. Every 2nd Tuesday, 10 til noon. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Scottish Arts Club Writers’ Group – Last Wednesday of every month at 7o’clock, a fiver for non-members or free if you join. All kinds of writing to be read and discussed- at the Scottish Arts Club Studio, 24 Rutland Square, EH1 2BW -a beautiful place, it must be said, or atleast, is being said.
Connect & Create – A monthly women’s writing group at Edinburgh Central Library.
Finally, there are the sociable terraces from where to view the upper reaches-
Edinburgh Writers Club – Social, joinable (£20-£40 a year) and programmed with talks, lectures and/or workshops every month. At the Hilton Grosvenor, Grosvenor Street, EH12 5EF
Shore Poets – A venerable Edinburgian institution, almost as old as the internet and based in The Outhouse, 12a Broughton Lane, EH1 3LY. There are costs -small ones- £3-5 for which you get a Shore Poet, a fairly famous feature poet and a new poet (a role for which you may apply) and some music. Last Sunday of most months where all resounds around the Lemon Cake raffle…