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Edinburgh Art Festival 2014: experience music and poetry in arty environments with Festival Detours

28 Jul 2014

Luke Wright, Meursault, Eilidh MacAskill and John Osborne prepare to perform in gallery settings

Detours is a series of live shows by music, poetry and theatre artists taking place in galleries across the city. As part of Edinburgh Art Festival, it aims to bring a new audience to visual art by transforming the traditional gallery space. This…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Yeti

26 Jul 2014

Performance poet Gary from Leeds bags some easy exposure with his Yeti Action Pack

We thought our last bribe – a handheld 8-bit gaming console – was lo-fi. Then we received Gary from Leeds' Yeti Action Pack: a slab of cotton wool, a twig and three numbered index cards. Rather than explain what each item did/does, Gary merely assured…

Flash Fiction: The Eejit Pit by Jenny Lindsay

13 Jun 2014

A poem from one half of spoken wordsters Rally & Broad

Jaggy, numpty mooth – Wheesht wi yer chitter! The nicht wiz sair an’ jiggered; Noo, a thrang ae claes Drapt oan the eejit pit … Oor fear kist awa’ Wi carry-oot, (Braw shoogle?) Maun noo, Bidie-in, Fair morn isnae close. Jenny Lindsay is…

Flash Fiction: Meeting Buddha In Dumbarton by Nikki Magennis

16 May 2014

A short poem from the author and artist

I take the luminous one to ASDA. He says nothing much. We get a trolley, walk back and forth. I hold onto my list and steal sidelong glances. His eyes reflect TV screens, icecream, carving knives. We slow in the pickle aisle between jars of…

Niall Campbell - Moontide

29 Apr 20144 stars

A western isles poetry collection with a deft, unobtrusive sense of irony

On a first read, Niall Campbell's debut collection might seem a simple enough affair of poems about the earthy, unassuming artefacts of life on the western islands. But Moontide is at its best when these details have their metaphorical strength deflated…

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Stanza 2014: an enlightening examination of the poetry of war

12 Mar 2014

Highlighted poets include Anton Schnack, Richard Aldington, DH Lawrence and Edward Thomas

Stanza, Scotland’s International Poetry festival, delivered a programme of stimulating events in 2014. As usual there was a wonderful mix of poets, with headliners including Carol Ann Duffy, John Burnside, Louis de Bernieres and, visiting the festival…

Stanza 2014: Voicing the Past - their wars, your words

12 Mar 2014

A half day poetry workshop with Jenny Lewis, giving a chance to develop poetical knowledge & skills

This was a first for me and, as it turned out, a very enjoyable experience in trying to forge a poem by thinking about war and its impact on a person close to me. It was also a friendly and collaborative experience with the others in the group, many of…

The Deep by Samuel Tongue

25 Feb 2014

Filling in our usual Flash Fiction slot, Samuel Tongue presents a short sea-themed poem

where three men were lost on a single moonlit night, their fathers combing the whitetops, splitting each running wave open, straining for a call. Samuel Tongue reads at StAnza’s Poetry in Protest, Byre Theatre, Sun 9 Mar.

Flash Fiction: Earth by Helen Sedgwick

29 Jan 2014

Poem from poet editor-in-chief at Cargo Publishing

They made the hut when they were still kids; neither of them wants to mention how it’s too small now. They crawl inside and sit on the sleeping bags that have been zipped together to make a padded floor mat. They end up with their feet sticking out of…

Valentines Day Poetry: verses for every stage of your relationship

24 Jan 2014

Poems for everything from first dates to break-ups, by Tracey S Rosenberg, William Letford and more

Step 1: The First Date 'How to Drink on the First Date' by Tracey S Rosenberg You're different. I can tell. For you I'll say: let's skip the pub entirely. I know this little place off the Links where the only drinks they serve are chocolate.

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International line-up of poets set to attend 2014 Stanza poetry festival

21 Jan 2014

Carol Ann Duffy, Louis de Bernieres and Paul Muldoon among highlights of St Andrews festival

Dip your toe - or better still, take a swim - into the pool of words that makes up the 2014 Stanza poetry Festival in St Andrews from 5-9 March. This year, as ever, there is a great line-up of international and national poets reading their work…

Celebrate the legacy of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, on Burns Night

7 Jan 2014

Find an event or create your own with our handy guide to Burns Suppers

It’s important, during the winter months, to keep in contact with close friends and loved ones. The cold weather and dark nights are best combatted with a mixture of food, drink and merriment, and while Christmas and Hogmanay go some way to making sure…

Hot 100 2013: 89-80

11 Dec 2013

Anna Meredith, Neil Forsyth and Greg McHugh among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2013

The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2013, you'll find them here.

Alasdair Roberts & Robin Robertson - Hirta Songs

5 Dec 20134 stars

Rich work exploring St Kilda and summoning the old, weird Scotland via Gaelic melodies

On Hirta Songs, folk singer Alasdair Roberts and poet Robin Robertson set sail for the remote Hebridean archipelago of St Kilda. After at least two millennia of human settlement, St Kilda was evacuated in 1930, leaving this rugged Atlantic outcrop to…

Flash Fiction: Falling #121 by Ryan Van Winkle

6 Nov 2013

Poem from Edinburgh-based writer

Winter and I cannot remember a single breakfast. All the problems have become snow: not the drinking nor the distance, it is the snow. It has been falling for months, gets ploughed to the side of the road, envelops the short Christmas days…

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Interview: John Cooper Clarke on how poetry and music work

31 Oct 2013

The punk poet on Arctic Monkeys, the return of spoken word and when not to combine poetry and music

My introduction to John Cooper Clarke came via Neil Innes, who performed his haiku: 'Expressing yourself / in seventeen syllables / is very diffic-' at a show back in 2004. Parallels can be drawn between the two men. Physically, sure, Innes is the…

Paul Muldoon, Carol Ann Duffy and John Burnside announced for StAnza 2014

3 Oct 2013

Sujata Bhatt, David Constantine, Tishani Doshi, Brian Turner and Menna Elfyn also to appear

StAnza, Scotland's International Poetry Festival, has revealed the names of some of the poets who will be appearing at the festival from Wed 5–Sun 9 Mar 2014, including Paul Muldoon, Carol Ann Duffy and John Burnside. The full program, which will not be…

Peggy Hughes remembers Seamus Heaney 1939–2013

25 Sep 2013

Programme Director at Dundee Literary Festival on the legacy of the Nobel Laureate

What to say at the passing of Seamus Heaney, Nobel Laureate, luminary and seer, a figure dear to the imaginations and hearts of poetry lovers around the globe. I could consider his poetry, but there’s not enough room. A few favourites, even? Ditto…

The Poet Speaks: Homage to Allen Ginsberg - Playhouse, Edinburgh, 13 Aug 2013

30 Aug 20134 stars

Heartfelt tribute from two figureheads of modern American culture

The festival is awash with two-for-one deals, but you’d have to go some to surpass Tuesday night at the Playhouse: not just one colossus of modern American culture on stage but three – classical composer Philip Glass on piano, punk poet and singer Patti…

Luke Wright: Essex Lion

22 Aug 20134 stars

Showcasing the poet's electric delivery and carefully sculpted craft

In case you missed last year's silly season scoop, Luke Wright's sweary titular poem recounts the tale of Essex natives losing their shit after spying a lion in a field. (Spoiler alert: was not a lion). Their impotently impassioned refrain, 'We fucking…

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Poets from Dear World and Everyone In It anthology set for Edinburgh Book Festival event

1 Aug 2013

New anthology features Sam Riviere, Miriam Gamble, Emily Berry and Jo L Walton

Want to know what's really going on in the current UK poetry landscape? Roll up! Dear World and Everyone In It, a ground-breaking anthology which ‘attempts to define a generation’ has (re)drawn the map for you – and this event offers a guided tour.

Patti Smith set for Edinburgh and Glasgow dates in 2013

11 Jul 2013

The punk poet shows no signs of slowing

At 66, Patti Smith is entering the twilight of her career with an energy and passion for the creative process that feels remarkably fresh and vital. Whether as poet, writer, photographer, activist or musician, she continues to produce a body of work…

Helen Ivory - Waiting for Bluebeard

16 May 20134 stars

The poet's latest collection dissolves the barriers between reality and fantasy

In what is undoubtedly her most bewitching poetry collection to date, Helen Ivory peels away the layers of reality and leaves her reader a tantalising world to explore. Each poem is beautifully woven together to create a dream-like narrative. Through…

Writer and perfume expert Alex Musgrave delivers talk on poetry and scent

10 May 2013

Custom-scented verse, live music and free wine

What does poetry smell like? Would a rose by any other name smell... well, let's save the rest for Alex Musgrave AKA perfume blogger the Silver Fox, as well as a poet, novelist and business manager at the Edinburgh branch of perfumery store…

Interview: John Cooper Clarke set for 2013 UK tour

9 May 2013

Punk, poet and comic recaps 35-year career with humour and fresh insight

Like a recently awakened raven, all hair teased to eternity and trademark skinny suit, John Cooper Clarke is one of the most unique figures in poetry and punk. His forthright poetry, delivered in a breathless, freight-train rush of breath, was perfectly…