Scottish Poetry News – July 2018

Scotland's spoken word scene gears up for the Fringe with a series of talks, events and slams, while Stewed Rhubarb celebrate their return and a host of new publications hit the shelves

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 02 Jul 2018
  • Northwest Book Highlights – April 2015

July is here, and the poets of Edinburgh have heard a cry on the wind. It whispers to them, it repeats the same four words over and over: “The Fringe Is Coming! The Fringe is Coming!” Enter Poetry As Fuck, the creators of the Wikipedia Slam and the Ambassador’s Reception. They’re back with The Slaminals of Farthing Wood; a slam much the same as any other, but losers will experience a child-traumatizing death. Fingers crossed this remains metaphorical, but come along to the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) on 27 July, 7pm, to find out.

In a significantly less violent setting, Alison Lang will be welcomed by the Federation of Writers to the café bar in the Traverse Theatre, 10 July, 8pm. It will be a night of readings in Gaelic, accompanied by English translations, mainly fiction but let’s cross our fingers for some of Alison’s poetry. Open mic slots will follow the performance, and poet Marcas Mac a Tuairneir is to host the evening.

Hotchpotch Dundee will take place in the Mayfly on 16 July (7-10pm, free). Hotchpotch is taking a slightly different format this month, with readers now encouraged to read for five minutes, rather than the usual ten. This way more voices will be heard – so make sure to time your set in advance if possible. Hotchpotch is a place of no criticism and no judgment, with anyone welcome along with any creative piece.

Dunsyre in South Lanarkshire is home to Ian Hamilton Finlay’s finest work: Little Sparta. The poetry garden boasts over 270 artworks to discover and is only open from June to September, from Thursday to Sunday (afternoons). Little Sparta is almost impossible to reach from public transport, however, there is minibus transport from central Edinburgh, available on certain Saturdays throughout the summer. Find out more here.

Between Mountain and Sea, poems from Assynt is the first collection of Norman MacCaig’s poems that are based on work written in or about his beloved Assynt. Edited by Roderick Watson, the included poems have been chosen by the poet’s son, Ewen MacCaig. This is a collection which rejoices in MacCaig’s keen eye and ability to see things anew.

Jim Monaghan is launching a new pamphlet, Cumnock & other places, with Glasgow’s Speculative Books. This much-anticipated work is being launched on 5 July in St Louis Café Bar on Dumbarton Road (9-11pm, free). Expect to hear from support poets Iona Lee, Sam Small, Victoria McNulty and Colin Poole.

Stewed Rhubarb will be celebrating its relaunch this month, with a sparkling line-up set to hit the SPL on 24 July, 7-9pm. Scottish poetic favourites Harry Josephine Giles, Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum will be joined by musician Kirsty Law to celebrate the newly bright future of the independent publisher.

The SPL will also play host to Teuchter Company’s Umbrella Man, the preview of the company's upcoming Fringe show. The tragicomedy takes place on 31 July, 7pm, and features a sandwich artist exploring the popular conspiracy theory: the flat earth model.

In Falkirk, [Untitled] will be hosting Truth of Lies 2018 at Behind the Wall (12 July, 7-10pm). Although mainly comprising of fiction from six short story writers, one performer, Carol McKay, has had her poetry and fiction widely published, and won the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in 2010. Tickets sit at £5 for this event, but every penny earned goes straight back to the performers. It’s incredibly encouraging to see event organisers paying writers (at all stages in their career) for their work – let’s hope it’s a continuing trend.