Scottish Poetry News: March 2019

March's poetry highlights include a clutch of new collections launching alongside the usual stellar array of live events

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 01 Mar 2019
  • Nadine Aisha Jassat

Jim Mackintosh’s first solo exhibition, Flipstones, will be drawing to an end on 14 March. The exhibition is housed in Perth Concert Hall, in the Threshold Artspace. It pairs the performance poet’s work with visual art from the Horsecross Arts Museum’s collection of contemporary art, with one form working to complement the other, and inspire new perspectives in each piece. The poetry responds to art of the moving image, to photography, sound and sculpture from over a dozen artists. With free admission Mon-Sat, make sure you get a chance to visit in these last two weeks.

Edinburgh’s Assembly Roxy will be hosting several spoken word artists as part of its Formation Festival (March-April). One such artist is Leyla Josephine, who will be premiering her new show, Daddy Drag, on 27-30 March. Through the performance Josephine will be exploring what it means to be a dad, including dads who are present, absent, good or bad and all the in-betweens.

Also at Assembly Roxy, separate from Formation Festival, Nadine Aisha Jassat will be launching her debut poetry collection, Let Me Tell You This via 404 Ink. Jassat’s much anticipated collection was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2018 and has been called ‘a punchy, powerful debut’ by Jackie Kay. The Edinburgh launch’s line-up (TBA) will showcase some of Scotland’s most talented writers. Accompanying this launch is the Glasgow event, taking place at the earlier date of 7 March in the Glasgow Women’s Library. This event will be supported by guest performers Esme Allman and Iona Lee, and will feature a Q&A chaired by journalist and writer Chitra Ramaswamy.

Poet and performance artist MacGillivray (Kirsten Norrie) will be launching her third collection, The Gaelic Garden of the Dead (Bloodaxe Books). The collection is three Books of the Dead bound as one: a trilogy comprising of a forest quartet, ten pattern poetry dream diagrams and 35 Petrarchan sonnets deconstructed to Mary, Queen of Scots. MacGillivray will be launching the collection, described as ‘occulted, fire-warped, close-stitched in freshly butchered skin’ by Iain Sinclair, on Friday 1 March at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

Carcanet Press is continuing with a blazing 2019, launching Jane Yeh’s Discipline on 13 Mar and Isabel Galleymore’s Significant Other on 20 Mar. This will be Galleymore’s debut collection, although her debut pamphlet Dazzle Ship was published by Worple Press in 2014 and her work has featured in several major literary magazines, such as the London Review of Books. Jane Yeh has experienced huge success with previous collections, her debut Marabou even being shortlisted for both the Whitbread and Forward First Collection prizes.

Although having launched in February, it’s worth mentioning Speculative Books' newest publication by multi-disciplinary artist, Lorna Callery-Sithole. Her debut poetry collection, pigeons with Warburtons, is interactive and visual; an absolute pleasure to pace through, complete with the poet’s own visual accompaniments. Speculative will be continuing its monthly publications in March with a debut collection from spoken word artist, Imogen Stirling.