Scottish Poetry News: April 2019

April brings with it a slew of new poetry collections alongside live highlights including multimedia show Drone and Hollie McNish back on tour

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 29 Mar 2019
  • Hollie McNish at UntitledLive

There are plenty of new collections to keep you occupied throughout April, but how about warming up with Stewed Rhubarb’s new pamphlet, Finding Sea Glass: Poems from The Drift, by Hannah Lavery. The launch date is set for Friday 5 April at the Scottish Poetry Library, and will not only feature Hannah but also supporting poets Jim Monaghan, Colin Bramwell, Melissa Goodbourn and music from Hailey Beavis.

Also launching at the Scottish Poetry Library is Lynn Davidson’s new collection, Islander, which is out with Shearsman this month. Author of Saltire Poetry Book of the Year (2017), Em Strang has praised the collection as a "rippling movement of the sea in sunlight, reflecting at once here, at once there, and then dissolving the distinctions." Both Lynn and Em will be reading their poetry at the launch on 16 April.

Picador Poetry will be publishing Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas, out on 18 April. A recipient of a Lannah Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship and a Whiting Award, Layli’s poetry examines and challenges the language used by the United States government in its duplicitous interactions with Native American peoples and tribes. The collection has already won, been shortlisted or longlisted for several American and Canadian awards from 2017 onwards, including the National Book Award for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the Griffin Prize.

In a quick Carcanet round-up, we have – all publishing on 25 April – Thomas McCarthy’s new collection Prophecy, Rebecca Goss’s Girl, and Pere Gimferrer (translated by Adrian Nathan West) with The Catalan Poems.

What an excellent month for poetry across Scotland, as Drone, written and performed by Harry Josephine Giles, will begin its tour on 11-13 April in Glasgow’s The Tron. The multi-media (sound, visual) poetry show is about technology, gender and anxiety wrapped up in the narrative of a military drone’s life and fears. Harry Josephine is a Forward-shortlisted poet and their co-creators include international sound artist Neil Simpson (Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo), digital artist Jamie Wardrop (Beats, The Dwelling Place) and director Rob Jones. From Glasgow Drone will go to London (2 May), Orkney (9 May), Hoy (10 May) and Edinburgh (4-5 June). 

Hollie McNish will be performing in Galashiels’s MacArts on 14 April, 8-9.30pm. Through the night she will be reading her poetry and chatting about her most recent collections. Nobody Told Me, published in 2016 by Little Brown of Blackfriars Books, won Hollie the Ted Hughes award in the same year. It’s a collection which The Scotsman claims ‘the world needs’, and has so far been translated into French, Spanish and German. This performance, alongside a second in Edinburgh’s Summerhall on 18 April, will have Michael Pedersen as the support act.

Tessa Berring is hosting MainPoint POETRY on 22 April, 7pm, in (you guessed it), Main Point Books, Edinburgh. The line-up features a remarkable group of poets, including Anne Laure Brugnon Coxam, Chelsea Tadeyeske, Edie Roberts, Nick-e Melville and Helena Fornells. The poets, although all currently residing in Edinburgh, come from France, Milwaukee, Michigan and Barcelona, as well as Scotland. It's difficult to predict what will happen on the night, but the poets have an excellent publishing history, having pamphlets and collections out with the likes of Sad Press, Rabbit Catastrophe Press and Bathmatics.