Scottish Poetry News – June 2018

June is a relatively restful month in Scottish poetry, with many poets gearing up for the Fringe or summer’s various book festivals. Thankfully, there are still lots of regular nights going on across the country to satiate your poetry desires

Article by Beth Cochrane | 29 May 2018
  • Kathryn Joseph, SAY Award Winner 2015

Glasgow’s Extra Second continues on the third Thursday of every month in Clutha Bar. Extra Second is a vibrant poetry night which blends local hip hop, comedy, acoustic acts and cabaret performers. However, giving it a unique edge, the line-up includes local activists delivering talks on that night’s theme (June’s theme is set to be War). With a real sense of community, Extra Second is renowned for supporting new artists, local organisations and causes from across the city.

Straddling the Edinburgh/Glasgow divide, Loud Poets have had some exciting news. As of September, they’ll be hosting their monthly shows in new venues. Edinburgh performances, on the last Friday of the month, will take place in the Scottish Storytelling Centre, while their Glasgow dates, on the last Thursday of the month, will take place at the CCA. Both venues are completely accessible.

Edinburgh independent bookshop Golden Hare Books is faced with retail giants Waterstones opening an unbranded store just around the corner from its Stockbridge premises. Golden Hare has shown an incredible amount of support to the local poetry community, and even host a monthly poetry reading. Hear Hare Here usually runs on the third Thursday of every month from 6.30-8pm, and for £5 entry you’ll hear three wonderfully diverse poets read. Keep an eye on their website for details.

The Borders Book Festival is a little light on their poetry programme this year. Running from 14-17 June and based in Harmony Garden, Melrose, the festival boasts an excellently curated line-up of writers. If you fancy catching some poetry over the weekend, head along to Border Voices at the Knight Frank Marquee on Friday 15 at 5.30pm. Running for eight years, the event comprises of readings from the Border Voices Forum, who will be showcasing their recently released titles. The poetry promises to be luminous, and there’s a chance to chat with the authors after the event.

Continuing on from May, Hidden Door have an excellent spoken word line-up during the first weekend in June. This includes possibly the most wholesome event for Scottish poetry in 2018 so far: The Space Gecko Project, 1 June, 6.30pm. Poet Stuart Kenny has brought life to the 2014 Telegraph article, headlined ‘Five Geckos Freeze to Death on Space Sex Mission.’ This untold love story is set to animated visuals and musical accompaniment, and tells the tale of the two small reptiles’ doomed space-love for one another.

New Zealand poet Hera Lindsay Bird will be drawing an end to the Scottish leg of her tour, with two dates in Edinburgh. She’ll be performing as part of the Flint & Pitch line-up at Hidden Door, also on 1 June, at 9pm. Expect acts Delightful Squalor, Kathryn Joseph and a range of cinepoems to complement the bill. In addition, Hera will be at the Scottish Poetry Library the following afternoon, discussing the craft in her poetry with local poet Alice Tarbuck.

Iona Lee’s first pamphlet, Iona Lee, has been selling fast since its initial Edinburgh launch. June sees a Glasgow launch of the pamphlet and, although details are unavailable at the moment, it’s worth your while keeping an eye on the poet’s social media pages for upcoming announcements. As quoted from Hollie McNish, “It’s always a pleasure to watch Iona read. There’s a lovely mystery, fairytale feel to her words and I’m thrilled they’ll now be in print so I can get to know them more.”