Scottish Poetry News: October 2021

As the seasons start to turn, our poetry columnist Beth Cochrane dives into October and all the lyrical goodness that awaits

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 04 Oct 2021
  • Claire Askew

Right in time for that autumnal air encouraging us to stay home, surrounded by books and blankets, October is proving to be an incredible month for poetry publications.

Edinburgh-based independent publisher Blue Diode has already had a strong year of new collections, including the ever-satirical and innovative nicky melville with his 232 pages of poetry in Decade of Cu ts. In October, Blue Diode will be publishing not one, but two collections: Georgi Gill’s Limbo and Allie Kerper’s Pale Hairs Reach Between Us. Both poets have been firm favourites with Scottish poetry audiences over the years, both on page and on the stage, and these collections are set to reaffirm the poets’ popularity.

Prototype – a fairly new publisher, and certainly one to keep an eye on – is launching Sam Buchan-Watts’ debut collection, Path Through Wood, on 12 Oct. Buchan-Watts is the author of Faber New Poets 15, and was given the Northern Writers’ Award for Poetry in 2019 – and that’s barely the tip of his writerly CV.

Dostoyevsky Wannabe is publishing Maria Sledmere’s debut collection, The Luna Erratum. For anyone that’s come across Sledmere’s work – either as a poet, performer, or editor – knows this is a book to be anticipated with a celestial shiver. Her work has been published far and wide; anthologised and published in dozens of magazines, and her poem, ‘Ariosos for Lavish Matter’ was highly commended in the 2020 Forward Prize.The Luna Erratum is a nourishing, melancholic must-read.

Ledbury Critic Sarala Estruch is releasing her collection, Say via flipped eye on 21 Oct. From the publisher who first published poets including Malika Booker and Miriam Nash, Say is an exploration of language and loss across the generations, delving into themes of mixed-race identity, colonialism, and its aftermath. Bloodaxe has just announced the exciting second collection from Dr Claire Askew, How to burn a woman. Through poems of witches and outsiders, of women who lived on the fringes of ordinary, Askew dives into an exploration of love with her incisive language, poetic tenderness and electric rage.

Carolyn Jess-Cooke is releasing her third collection, We Have To Leave The Earth, with Seren Books (18 Oct). Featuring a three-part collection of poems, the reader is drawn through Jess-Cooke’s curious poetic mind and folds in themes from across the personal, political, historic and environmental. We Have To Leave The Earth is the perfect collection to begin your autumnal reading list.