Scottish Poetry News – February 2018

Our correspondent takes a look at February's finest poetry events across central Scotland, and the releases to watch out for in this month's column

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 29 Jan 2018
  • Iona Lee

The month kicks off with a veritable colour wheel of events on the 1st: Glasgow Poetry Mafia’s Class War Slam at Nice 'n' Sleazy [more on that later], Jenny Lindsay’s much anticipated This Script (and other drafts) at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and the multi-award winning Michael Longley will be reading with Rishi Dastidar and Ciara MacLaverty at St Mungo’s Mirrorball (in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library). And that’s just day one, there’s plenty more slams, releases, showcases and spoken word shows to keep your cockles from freezing.

It’s a good month for releases too. Picador launches Robin Robertson’s The Long Take on 22 February. Already praised by John Banville as ‘one of the finest contemporary poets,’ Robertson, originally from the north-east coast of Scotland, is sure to live up to his prize-winning name with this noir narrative. The Long Take follows D-Day veteran, Walker, on a journey across America. Struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, Walker sets out to rebuild his shattered life at a time when America is fracturing into a societal jigsaw puzzle.

Do you want more poetry in your life? Of course you do, and Speculative Books know it. The UK’s newest publishing company is offering a poetry-to-your-door service like no other: subscribe for £5 at and you’ll receive a new poetry collection every month. Sounds pretty great, right? Sign up, and February’s post could bring you David Ross Linklater’s collection, Black Box, which is launching at the cult poetry night at Glasgow's Inn Deep on 27 February. Pinning a red flag on David now: this is a poet you’ll want to keep an eye on.

On the events scene, February is filled with multifarious facets of the poetry world. Always fancied seeing a slam to sow dissent into the ranks of poets or breach the chasm of Scotland’s class divide? Glasgow Poetry Mafia’s Class War Slam is set to do at least one of those. On one side we have the middle class team, which includes former Scottish Slam Champion Iona Lee, and opposing there’s team working class, including Sonnet Youth co-producer and writer extraordinaire Kevin P. Gilday. With the headline slot filled by poetry legend Jim Monaghan, the Class War Slam may be the slam to unite the classes under one banner… But probably not – it’s only poetry. 

Speaking of Sonnet Youth, the Glasgow based literary rave is set to expand across the M8 and into Edinburgh. On the third Tuesday of every month, the spoken word cabaret will be taking over Gilded Balloon’s Rose Theatre, with their first show – Sonnet Youth #16 – set for 20 February, 8pm. The line-up includes Loki performing a live interpretation of his best selling book Poverty Safari, Canadian slam champion Andre Prefontaine, Scotland’s favourite short story revolutionary Chris McQueer, and one of Scotland’s newest and loudest poetry voices, Sarah Grant. Sonnet Youth #16 will make its way home to Glasgow’s Drygate on 21 February. It’s certainly a line-up that reflects the current climate of the Scottish Poetry scene: a spine tingling bundle of talents clamouring for our ears and waited on with anticipation.