Scottish Poetry News: February 2022

February's poetry wrap includes new collections from Hannah Lavery, Bibi June and Shannon O'Neill, in-person poetry at Lovecrumbs and the chance to play Glastonbury (!)

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 01 Feb 2022
  • Hannah Lavery

It’s great to see live, in-person events back in the poetry calendar, and Thomas Stewart is delivering these delights with the return of Lovecrumbs Readings, a poetry night set in Edinburgh’s Lovecrumbs. For a night of poetry, cake, wine and actually meeting your friends again (IRL!), head along to the café on 17 February, with doors opening at 6pm and readings starting at 6.30pm. Taking to the stage will be a wonderful set of poets, including Louise Peterkin, Anne Pia, Sabelle Baglee, Jaerin Hamilton, and Thomas Stewart himself. COVID guidelines will be in place for this session, so try to make it as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Another live event is planned for Shannon O’Neill’s launch of her debut poetry collection, Fractured. O’Neill’s book is part poetry and part play; a sci-fi odyssey which explores the dividing of both the mind’s self and the body’s self, on a cellular level. The launch will take place on 3 February in Glasgow’s McChuills, and will feature a whole roster of artists, including Jo D’Arc, Ross McFarlane, Tickle, Miles Better and Apocalypse Theorists. O’Neill will kick off at 7.30pm and, as I’m sure you’re all doing anyway, please do take a lateral flow test before going along. Where would we be if all the poets caught COVID at once?

Hannah Lavery, Edinburgh’s newly appointed Makar, is releasing her debut poetry collection, Blood Salt Spring, on 3 March, but pre-orders are available as of now. Lavery is an award-winning writer of poetry, plays, prose, and has performed on spoken word and poetry stages across the country, including festivals such as the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Kelburn Garden Party, and Electric Fields. Whether her work is for the poetry stage, theatre, or page, Lavery’s work is well known for its exploration of the legacy of colonialism and racism in modern-day Scotland.

Blood Salt Spring, published by Polygon, continues a deep consideration of these themes, with poignancy and poetic insight that is both rigorously cutting and, at once, gentle. This is poetry that will help you unravel the knotted reality that is the turbulent 2020s.

This column missed out on the announcement of Scottish poet Bibi June’s latest page work, titled TransMask. It’s a DIY zine of poetry, drawings, cut-outs, and a dress-up doll with over 15 accessories (more of this in poetry, please). This work is a fulfilling and fun quest through twenty different ways in which face masks can be seen as queer objects, and taps into themes of community care, identity, and gender.

For all you poetry and spoken word performers out there, get those applications ready for the Poetry&Words stage at Glastonbury Festival 2022, as applications are now open and due on 4 March. Submissions should include a CV and links to two or three recordings of you performing your work – still plenty of time to pull those together and send in. Best of luck, poets and performers! It would be incredible to see a strong, Scottish contingent on Glastonbury’s poetry stage.