Scottish Poetry News: July 2019

Our guide to the best literary and spoken word events taking place across Scotland this month

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 28 Jun 2019
  • Books

In what may be a first, it's a delight to announce Scotland’s first poetry pamphlet that’s inspired by the well-known business and professional networking social media platform: LinkedIn. Ross McCleary’s Endorse Me, You Cowards! takes inspiration from the platform and seven years worth of office temping jobs. The pamphlet is full of stunning concrete poetry, interview tips, and pieces of writing which deny the page to stage divide. Coming out with Stewed Rhubarb on 26 July, the launch will take place in Edinburgh Lighthouse Books.

Staying with news in spoken word publishing, Kevin P. Gilday will be releasing his Sad Songs for White Boys with Speculative Books this month (just in time to promote alongside his upcoming Fringe show, Suffering from Scottishness). The collection spans Kevin’s work from 2010 to 2020 – that’s ten years worth of poetry in one collection, one of which hasn’t even happened yet. But Kevin doesn’t just look back, but also into the future: where will Scotland be at the end of this decade? Sad Song for White Boys is launching on 16 July at Inn Deep, Glasgow.

And the launches keep coming, this time with a slightly different twist. Blackwells, Edinburgh, will be hosting WITCH: An Evening of Poetry and Zines with Rebecca Tamás. The event, of course, is celebrating the launch of Rebecca’s new collection, WITCH, but her reading and conversation (chaired by Helena Fornells) will be followed by a spell zines workshop. Led by the Edinburgh Zine Library, materials will be provided but attendees are encouraged to bring along any poetry, illustrations or similar to use. WITCH is Rebecca’s first full collection, following her three pamphlets, The Ophelia Letters, Savage, and Tiger. She is also the co-editor of the newly published anthology Spells: Occult Poetry for the 21st Century. Head along to Blackwells on 6 July, 6-8pm, for some poetry, spells and zine making.

It wouldn’t be a poetry news column without a brief round-up of Carcanet’s upcoming publications. All being released on 25 July, we have Jeremy Over’s Fur Coats in Tahiti, Stanley Moss’s God Breaketh Not All Men’s Hearts Alike, and Helen Tookey’s City of Departures. The latter collection is currently shortlisted for the 2019 Forward Prize for Best Collection. Fingers crossed for you, Helen.

Finally in the poetry calendar we have Imploring the Territory: Taking the Language for an Unwalk, on 3 July at the Scottish Poetry Library. Created by Polly Atkin, Vahni Capildeo and Harry Josephine Giles, the evening takes a three part format. Firstly, the trio will lead a performance untangling (or tangling? that’s the joy in poetry) the act of walking. It's uncertain where the performance will lead its audience, but between the second part (a brief excursion into anti-flânerie) and the third (a Q&A for the audience to unpick the evening with the poets), the end of the journey will surely be enlightening.

July, as always, is a fairly quiet month for poetry. There’s the usual weekly and monthly events ticking along, including Poetry at Inn Deep (weekly) and Inky Fingers (first Tuesday of the month) as two of the most popular events in Glasgow and Edinburgh. But let’s use the time to take a deep breath before delving into the wealth of spoken word that the Edinburgh Fringe Festival brings to Scotland. Much of it will be great, much of it may not be so great, but at least we have some precious last weeks to examine that weighty tome that is the Fringe brochure.