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Behind the Scenes at the Poetry Library: part of Thistles and Sunflowers

Wednesdays 18, 25 May and 1st of June at 1pm.  We are supporting the Thistles and Sunflowers Poetry Trail  with a free guided tour of the Scottish Poetry Library at lunchtime, led by the SPL’s Assistant Librarian Toni Velikova. Join us to discover the treasures of Scottish poetry and the history of the world’s only purpose-built poetry library. The tour takes roughly 40 minutes and includes a handling session of treasures from the Scottish Poetry Library archive. Free-but-ticketed. 

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue Whole Building

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Lief: Imogen Stirling, Ash Dickinson and Mhairi Owens

2nd of June at 7pm. A night of poetry readings with a focus not just on the work of the poets themselves, but the poems and ideas that influenced them. Hear three of Scotland's finely-tuned wordsmiths reading from their new collections and also introducing us to the poems they've found along the way. These new collections will be showcased with signed copies for sale on the night-Imogen Stirling- Love The Sinner (Verve Poetry Press, 2022)Mhairi Owens- Nine Notes on Slippage (Templar Poetry, 2022)Ash Dickinson- Instructions For Outlaws (Burning Eye Books, 2022)Imogen StirlingPerformance poet Imogen Stirling has performed her work extensively around the UK and Europe, with partners including Sofar Sounds, BBC Scotland, Latitude Festival, Lindisfarne Festival, Neu! Reekie! and Aye! Write. She can currently be seen on Sky Arts' BAFTA-winning show Life & Rhymes where she performed alongside Benjamin Zephaniah and Hollie McNish. Imogen was the inaugural Writer-in-Residence for Paisley Book Festival 2021 and is currently leading Wigtown Book Festival's youth programme. She was recently awarded ‘Artist of the Year 2021’ (Scottish Emerging Theatre Awards/National Theatre of Scotland). Her new collection Love The Sinner, is a modern retelling of the seven deadly sins.‘the work of a lyrical genius’ BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAHMhairi OwensMhairi Owens is a recent winner of the Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award and Wigtown Poetry Prize. She lives in Pittenweem, Fife, where she works for a community addictions service as well as The Scottish Fisheries Museum. She writes in both English and Scots, and has appeared in a wild variety of places. Nine Notes on Slippage is the first full collection of her writing and has already won the Straid Collection Award.Ash DickinsonAsh Dickinson has been full-time as a poet since 2008. He is a multiple slam champion, including Edinburgh, Cheltenham, the Museum of Scotland and BBC Radio. He has performed in Australia, Canada, USA, Spain, Jordan, the Czech Republic and Germany, and headlined shows and festivals throughout the UK. Ash is in great demand to run writing workshops in schools, galleries, museums, prisons and with writing groups. His debut collection, Slinky Espadrilles was the very first title published by Burning Eye Books. His second major collection, Strange Keys, came out in 2016 and a collection for younger years, Show Cats In Transit, followed in 2019.“Impressive wordplay” – The Times“Clever And Funny” – The Scotsman“Brilliantly surreal invention…fabulous poems” – Edinburgh Evening Newswww.ashdickinson.comTickets £5 in advance, £6 on the door. Show will last around 90 minutes with intervals.

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine

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The Day of Culloden' poem, In Person, John Roy Stuart, Rising of 1745, Battle of Culloden

John Roy Stuart: The Bard of Culloden with Michael Nevin and Michael Fry

The weary traveller, driving up the A9 from Edinburgh bound for Inverness, might be tempted to take a brief detour along the B970 in search of rest and refreshment. About a mile from Boat of Garten, the traveller may come across a rather idiosyncratic structure – a cairn standing alone in the remote Highland countryside. Interest piqued, the traveller may briefly pause and, upon closer inspection, will find upon it a plaque engraved with the following inscription in Gaelic and English:‘John Roy Stuart 1700-1752. Born and raised near here was the celebrated Gaelic poet John Roy Stuart, one of the most heroic figures of the ‘45 Rising. A devoted Jacobite, John Roy raised the Edinburgh Regiment which also included men from Strathspey. He won great acclaim for his bravery at Prestonpans, Falkirk and Culloden. Remember the people from whence you came. Erected by The 1745 Association.’But who was John Roy Stuart? What is his poetic legacy? And what were his heroic deeds during the Rising of 1745? In short, why did The 1745 Association build this monument to his memory a quarter of a century ago? These are the questions that Michael Nevin, current Chair of The 1745 Association, shall endeavour to address in conversation with the distinguished historian and journalist Michael Fry, author of A Higher World: Scotland 1707-1815 and many other works, including a regular column on Scottish history every Monday in The National.The event will be in English.

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine

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Bashabi Fraser and Olivia Findlay

22nd of June at 7pm. Join two poets for an insightful discussion about the visually arresting collections they have produced as part of Scotland Street Press’ International Women 2021 series.Dr Bashabi Fraser CBE is an award winning poet, Professor Emerita of English and Creative Writing and one of Saltire Society’s ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’. Her collection of ‘pandemic poems’, Patient Dignity, was produced in collaboration with artist Vibha Pankaj. Pankaj’s paintings bring a layered vocabulary to powerful verses that celebrate transnational identity and compare moments in Indian and Scottish history.Olivia Findlay also wrote her debut poetry collection, A Song to Keep, in conversation with an artist. Domenica de Ferranti’s charcoal drawings create an iconography to accompany Findlay’s poems, that lingers long after the page is turned. The poems are set against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, rooted in the experience of growing up in South Africa, exploring the challenges of motherhood, marriage and immigration.Together, Findlay and Fraser reflect on their experiences of bringing artistic practices together while separated by distance. Their conversation encompasses themes of culture, displacement and acceptance.Find out more about the books here: https://www.scotlandstreetpress.comTicket holders can get a free glass of wine on arrival.

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine

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Traci O’Dea

29th of June at 7pm. Poet Traci O’Dea comes to the Scottish Poetry Library to read from her explosive and funny collection of poems, Restricted Movement.Restricted Movement tells the story of a daughter attempting to support her father, as he struggles with addiction and dementia, while separated by oceans and the pandemic. O’Dea’s poems document a frantic cycle of overdoses, disappearances from care and international phone calls, but interspersed with moments of tender reflection on her love for her father and her seaside surroundings.Traci’s poems are accompanied by paintings her father has created, she discusses and reads from what is in part an exercise in collective healing. Author Matthew Buckley Smith described it as, ‘a pandemic book, an addiction story, and a love letter to a troubled father, it defies the odds by also being really fucking funny. If you needed any further proof that form lends force to feeling, here it is.'Traci O’Dea is an American poet living in Jersey, a celebrated performer, her work has appeared in BBC Radio Jersey, The Hopkins Review, The Jersey Evening Post, Goethe Institut, and more. Find out more about Traci's book here: https://www.scotlandstreetpress.com/authors/traci-odeaTicket holders can get a free glass of wine on arrival.

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine

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Summer Holiday Mindfulness and Expressive Writing Course

The five-day Summer Holiday Mindfulness and Expressive Writing course pairs mindfulness meditation practices with expressive and creative writing practices. The course is not a therapy group, but an experiential training in which participants are helped to take responsibility for their own process. The theory of each practice will be explained, practiced, and reflected on with various expressive and creative writing prompts. We will also read poetry that has a mindful theme before each session. There will be a short break for tea and refreshments (you can bring your own if you like). You will also have the opportunity to look around the poetry library, and even join for free, if you like. The course is designed as an introduction to Mindfulness and Expressive Writing. It will give you a solid grounding on the theory and practice of mindfulness meditation and will support your writing practice both creatively and reflectively. It is hoped that the course will support your well-being and the well-being of others too. The course will include key themes: intention and motivation, present moment awareness, expressive writing, mindfulness of body and breath, compassion, and loving-kindness. Each session lasts 3 hours, including a short break. The course is open to all people, levels of mindfulness and writing experience. All you need is curiosity and intention to give it a go. Course facilitator: Led by Colin McGuire. Colin has trained as a Mindfulness Teacher with the Mindfulness Association. He is qualified to teach the Mindfulness Based Living Course. He has an M.Sc. in Mindfulness from The University of Aberdeen (2020). Colin is also a poet who has run Creative Writing and Mindfulness workshops in high schools, libraries and community centres. He has published three pamphlets and one full-collection; his most recently collection is ‘Enhanced Fool Disclosure’ with Glasgow-based independent publisher Speculative Books. Follow his Facebook page @Beginner’s Mind Visit Beginner’s Mind Website: http://beginnersmind.click Visit Colin’s poetry website: http://www.colinmcguirepoet.co.uk Course Schedule:Monday 18th July 10-1 (including break)Tuesday 19th July 10-1 (including break)Wednesday 20th July 10-1 (including break)Thursday 21st July 10-1 (including break)Friday 22nd July 10-1 (including break)

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue Meeting Room 1

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An 80th Birthday Afternoon with Colin Will

Saturday 23rd of July at 2pm. Join us for the launch of Colin Will’s Swept Away: New and Selected Poems on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. Colin is a poet, short story writer, editor and musician. He has chaired the boards of the Scottish Poetry Library, StAnza International Poetry Festival (twice), Tyne & Esk Writers, Coastword and was President of the Scottish Library Association in 2000. He ran Calder Wood Press from 1999 to 2016 and is now editor of Postbox Press, the literary fiction imprint of Red Squirrel Press and Postbox, Scotland’s International Short Story Magazine. Event is free but please book. 

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine

Select Dates

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Event Image

Behind the Scenes at the Poetry Library: part of Thistles and Sunflowers

Wednesdays 18, 25 May and 1st of June at 1pm.  We are supporting the Thistles and Sunflowers Poetry Trail  with a free guided tour of the Scottish Poetry Library at lunchtime, led by the SPL’s Assistant Librarian Toni Velikova. Join us to discover the treasures of Scottish poetry and the history of the world’s only purpose-built poetry library. The tour takes roughly 40 minutes and includes a handling session of treasures from the Scottish Poetry Library archive. Free-but-ticketed. 

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue Whole Building

Event Image

Lief: Imogen Stirling, Ash Dickinson and Mhairi Owens

2nd of June at 7pm. A night of poetry readings with a focus not just on the work of the poets themselves, but the poems and ideas that influenced them. Hear three of Scotland's finely-tuned wordsmiths reading from their new collections and also introducing us to the poems they've found along the way. These new collections will be showcased with signed copies for sale on the night-Imogen Stirling- Love The Sinner (Verve Poetry Press, 2022)Mhairi Owens- Nine Notes on Slippage (Templar Poetry, 2022)Ash Dickinson- Instructions For Outlaws (Burning Eye Books, 2022)Imogen StirlingPerformance poet Imogen Stirling has performed her work extensively around the UK and Europe, with partners including Sofar Sounds, BBC Scotland, Latitude Festival, Lindisfarne Festival, Neu! Reekie! and Aye! Write. She can currently be seen on Sky Arts' BAFTA-winning show Life & Rhymes where she performed alongside Benjamin Zephaniah and Hollie McNish. Imogen was the inaugural Writer-in-Residence for Paisley Book Festival 2021 and is currently leading Wigtown Book Festival's youth programme. She was recently awarded ‘Artist of the Year 2021’ (Scottish Emerging Theatre Awards/National Theatre of Scotland). Her new collection Love The Sinner, is a modern retelling of the seven deadly sins.‘the work of a lyrical genius’ BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAHMhairi OwensMhairi Owens is a recent winner of the Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award and Wigtown Poetry Prize. She lives in Pittenweem, Fife, where she works for a community addictions service as well as The Scottish Fisheries Museum. She writes in both English and Scots, and has appeared in a wild variety of places. Nine Notes on Slippage is the first full collection of her writing and has already won the Straid Collection Award.Ash DickinsonAsh Dickinson has been full-time as a poet since 2008. He is a multiple slam champion, including Edinburgh, Cheltenham, the Museum of Scotland and BBC Radio. He has performed in Australia, Canada, USA, Spain, Jordan, the Czech Republic and Germany, and headlined shows and festivals throughout the UK. Ash is in great demand to run writing workshops in schools, galleries, museums, prisons and with writing groups. His debut collection, Slinky Espadrilles was the very first title published by Burning Eye Books. His second major collection, Strange Keys, came out in 2016 and a collection for younger years, Show Cats In Transit, followed in 2019.“Impressive wordplay” – The Times“Clever And Funny” – The Scotsman“Brilliantly surreal invention…fabulous poems” – Edinburgh Evening Newswww.ashdickinson.comTickets £5 in advance, £6 on the door. Show will last around 90 minutes with intervals.

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine

Event Image
The Day of Culloden' poem, In Person, John Roy Stuart, Rising of 1745, Battle of Culloden

John Roy Stuart: The Bard of Culloden with Michael Nevin and Michael Fry

The weary traveller, driving up the A9 from Edinburgh bound for Inverness, might be tempted to take a brief detour along the B970 in search of rest and refreshment. About a mile from Boat of Garten, the traveller may come across a rather idiosyncratic structure – a cairn standing alone in the remote Highland countryside. Interest piqued, the traveller may briefly pause and, upon closer inspection, will find upon it a plaque engraved with the following inscription in Gaelic and English:‘John Roy Stuart 1700-1752. Born and raised near here was the celebrated Gaelic poet John Roy Stuart, one of the most heroic figures of the ‘45 Rising. A devoted Jacobite, John Roy raised the Edinburgh Regiment which also included men from Strathspey. He won great acclaim for his bravery at Prestonpans, Falkirk and Culloden. Remember the people from whence you came. Erected by The 1745 Association.’But who was John Roy Stuart? What is his poetic legacy? And what were his heroic deeds during the Rising of 1745? In short, why did The 1745 Association build this monument to his memory a quarter of a century ago? These are the questions that Michael Nevin, current Chair of The 1745 Association, shall endeavour to address in conversation with the distinguished historian and journalist Michael Fry, author of A Higher World: Scotland 1707-1815 and many other works, including a regular column on Scottish history every Monday in The National.The event will be in English.

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine

Event Image

Bashabi Fraser and Olivia Findlay

22nd of June at 7pm. Join two poets for an insightful discussion about the visually arresting collections they have produced as part of Scotland Street Press’ International Women 2021 series.Dr Bashabi Fraser CBE is an award winning poet, Professor Emerita of English and Creative Writing and one of Saltire Society’s ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’. Her collection of ‘pandemic poems’, Patient Dignity, was produced in collaboration with artist Vibha Pankaj. Pankaj’s paintings bring a layered vocabulary to powerful verses that celebrate transnational identity and compare moments in Indian and Scottish history.Olivia Findlay also wrote her debut poetry collection, A Song to Keep, in conversation with an artist. Domenica de Ferranti’s charcoal drawings create an iconography to accompany Findlay’s poems, that lingers long after the page is turned. The poems are set against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, rooted in the experience of growing up in South Africa, exploring the challenges of motherhood, marriage and immigration.Together, Findlay and Fraser reflect on their experiences of bringing artistic practices together while separated by distance. Their conversation encompasses themes of culture, displacement and acceptance.Find out more about the books here: https://www.scotlandstreetpress.comTicket holders can get a free glass of wine on arrival.

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine

Event Image

Traci O’Dea

29th of June at 7pm. Poet Traci O’Dea comes to the Scottish Poetry Library to read from her explosive and funny collection of poems, Restricted Movement.Restricted Movement tells the story of a daughter attempting to support her father, as he struggles with addiction and dementia, while separated by oceans and the pandemic. O’Dea’s poems document a frantic cycle of overdoses, disappearances from care and international phone calls, but interspersed with moments of tender reflection on her love for her father and her seaside surroundings.Traci’s poems are accompanied by paintings her father has created, she discusses and reads from what is in part an exercise in collective healing. Author Matthew Buckley Smith described it as, ‘a pandemic book, an addiction story, and a love letter to a troubled father, it defies the odds by also being really fucking funny. If you needed any further proof that form lends force to feeling, here it is.'Traci O’Dea is an American poet living in Jersey, a celebrated performer, her work has appeared in BBC Radio Jersey, The Hopkins Review, The Jersey Evening Post, Goethe Institut, and more. Find out more about Traci's book here: https://www.scotlandstreetpress.com/authors/traci-odeaTicket holders can get a free glass of wine on arrival.

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine

Event Image

Summer Holiday Mindfulness and Expressive Writing Course

The five-day Summer Holiday Mindfulness and Expressive Writing course pairs mindfulness meditation practices with expressive and creative writing practices. The course is not a therapy group, but an experiential training in which participants are helped to take responsibility for their own process. The theory of each practice will be explained, practiced, and reflected on with various expressive and creative writing prompts. We will also read poetry that has a mindful theme before each session. There will be a short break for tea and refreshments (you can bring your own if you like). You will also have the opportunity to look around the poetry library, and even join for free, if you like. The course is designed as an introduction to Mindfulness and Expressive Writing. It will give you a solid grounding on the theory and practice of mindfulness meditation and will support your writing practice both creatively and reflectively. It is hoped that the course will support your well-being and the well-being of others too. The course will include key themes: intention and motivation, present moment awareness, expressive writing, mindfulness of body and breath, compassion, and loving-kindness. Each session lasts 3 hours, including a short break. The course is open to all people, levels of mindfulness and writing experience. All you need is curiosity and intention to give it a go. Course facilitator: Led by Colin McGuire. Colin has trained as a Mindfulness Teacher with the Mindfulness Association. He is qualified to teach the Mindfulness Based Living Course. He has an M.Sc. in Mindfulness from The University of Aberdeen (2020). Colin is also a poet who has run Creative Writing and Mindfulness workshops in high schools, libraries and community centres. He has published three pamphlets and one full-collection; his most recently collection is ‘Enhanced Fool Disclosure’ with Glasgow-based independent publisher Speculative Books. Follow his Facebook page @Beginner’s Mind Visit Beginner’s Mind Website: http://beginnersmind.click Visit Colin’s poetry website: http://www.colinmcguirepoet.co.uk Course Schedule:Monday 18th July 10-1 (including break)Tuesday 19th July 10-1 (including break)Wednesday 20th July 10-1 (including break)Thursday 21st July 10-1 (including break)Friday 22nd July 10-1 (including break)

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue Meeting Room 1

Event Image

An 80th Birthday Afternoon with Colin Will

Saturday 23rd of July at 2pm. Join us for the launch of Colin Will’s Swept Away: New and Selected Poems on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. Colin is a poet, short story writer, editor and musician. He has chaired the boards of the Scottish Poetry Library, StAnza International Poetry Festival (twice), Tyne & Esk Writers, Coastword and was President of the Scottish Library Association in 2000. He ran Calder Wood Press from 1999 to 2016 and is now editor of Postbox Press, the literary fiction imprint of Red Squirrel Press and Postbox, Scotland’s International Short Story Magazine. Event is free but please book. 

Location Scottish Poetry Library

subvenue The Mezzanine