Scottish Poetry News – May 2018

May's poetry highlights include new releases from Stewed Rhubarb and Tapsalteerie, Dunbar literary festival CoastWord and many Flint & Pitch dates for your diary.

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 02 May 2018
  • Rachel McCrum

It’s been two years, but award-winning pamphlet publisher Stewed Rhubarb is back in the game. First on the list of publications are reissues of two full-length collections by poets Harry Giles and Rachel McCrum, both collections having been originally published by the now-collapsed Freight Books.

First founded in 2013, Stewed Rhubarb quickly became a publisher of high quality poetry and spoken word pamphlets, having won the Callum Macdonald Award for its first pamphlet, Rachel McCrum’s The Glassblower Dances in 2013. With over a dozen impeccably designed pamphlets in its catalogue already, Scottish poetry certainly has a lot to look forward to now Stewed Rhubarb’s hiatus is at an end.

Tapsalteerie have not one but two releases this month, in the form of Sarah Stewart’s Glisk, a critique of gender and class, and Russell JonesDark Matters, a pamphlet strongly influenced by the sci-fi poetry of Edwin Morgan. Both pamphlets will be launched at the Scottish Poetry Library on 9 May at 7pm, with the authors giving short readings from their new publications.

Launching his seventh collection, Gerry Loose’s new book, Night Exposures, will be released on 24 May by Vagabond Voices. Said to be formally inventive and composed with the subtle and gentle lyricism which we’ve come to expect from Loose, this is a collection to get your hands on as soon as possible.

Dunbar’s own literary festival, CoastWord is set to return for another unforgettable weekend of poetry, music and stories. Running since 2013, then under the banner The Wee Fest of Words, the CoastWord programme is packed with a stunning variety of poetical participants. Sunday 20 May is particularly exciting for a poetry audience, starting with the Coastword Breakfast at 11am in the Festival Hub. Join award-winning poet Marjorie Lotfi Gill, accompanied on clarsach by Katie Harrigan, and Ghazi Hussein for poetry, baklava and pastries. The Festival Hub will also feature award-winning poets Em Strang and Iona Lee later that day, kicking off at 4pm for an hour of poetry, hosted by two well-known and well-loved Dunbar-based poets, Ruth Gilchrist and Jo Gibson. The venue will also accommodate a third all-poetry event that evening, with William Letford and Ciara MacLaverty taking to the stage at 5.30pm.

Hidden Door is back in Leith Theatre this May, having expanded its programme to encompass the nearby State Cinema also – where most of its spoken word shows will take place. A few performances to watch out for during the May dates include Colin McGuire’s The Wake-Up Call, a spoken word theatre piece investigating the process of sleep on 28 May, and the widely known collective Women with Fierce Words, who are taking to the stage on 25 May.

Flint & Pitch have several May dates lined up, one of which is included in Booked! 2018 – West-Dunbartonshire Festival of Words. On 18 May, at 7pm in Gartocharn’s Millennium Hall, host Jenny Lindsay will deliver the cabaret as a finale to the weekend, presenting poets Michael Pedersen and Katharine Macfarlane, short story author Chris McQueer and music from both Emma Pollock and Heir of the Cursed.

As part of ReimagiNation: Glenrothes (produced by the Edinburgh International Book Festival), Dr Lilias Fraser will be leading Everything You Wanted to Know About Poetry on 19 May, Rothes Halls at 1pm. Dr Fraser will be tearing down the perceived barriers preventing people and poems from coming together.