Scottish Poetry News – October 2018

This month, National Poetry Day returns with a host of events and the final collection of verse from Leonard Cohen is published

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 02 Oct 2018
  • Jura Unbound 2014: Listings Books

Another year has been and gone, and it’s National Poetry Day (4 Oct) once again. Themed this year on change, there is a series of diverse events planned across the country. Before this, however, plan your warm-up evening at Killie Browser at Kilmarnock Railway Station. Taking place on the eve of National Poetry Day (3 Oct, 7.30-8pm), the local Poetry for Mental Health Group will be reading selections of their work. Entry to this event costs £4, but all money raised will aid activities for socially isolated members of the Ayrshire community.

On 4 October, Crichton Writers will be in Dumfries Museum at 6.30pm with The Nature of Trees. This free gathering includes readings of poetry (and prose) about or relating to trees. Exploration of tree history, folklore and biology all promised, as well as refreshments on site.

The Scottish Poetry Library is hosting an evening of change-themed poetry: complete with a magnetic poetry board, an open mic session, and headline set from the Forward Prize winner Vahni Capildeo. Poets will be exploring the theme from 7-8.30pm at this free event, with readings about drag queens, Dr Who, and who knows what else (such is the joy of the open mic). Attendees are invited to bring along five minutes of change-themed words.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is marking NPD with a weekend informal training session for educators near Scone in Perth and Kinross. Taking place on Saturday 6 October, 10am-12.30pm, this session is free but booking is essential. Targeted at teachers and those working in a broader learning setting, the morning will be filled with risk management (stick with us…), nature play in the woods and, most importantly, poetry. Weather permitting, there will also be a provided lunch around the campfire – a great way to top off a morning spent focusing on enhancing and expanding your outdoor education.

For the animal-loving poets, particularly those fond of felines, comes a new title from Serpent’s Tail. Cat Poems will be released this month, and features work from across the poetic canon. From Baudelaire to Bishop, Williams to Yeats, each poet has been inspired by the apparently ‘most delightful and beguiling of muses’: the cat. An easy answer to the question of the stocking filler, Cat Poems certainly appeals to those of us with a special affection for the furry felines.

The Flame is Leonard Cohen’s final collection of poetry and will be released by Canongate on 2 October. Cohen received multiple awards for his lyrics and songwriting throughout his career, with 12 books (two of which were novels) published also. This book is exemplary of his great talent as a writer, with the selection featuring lyrics, illustrations, prose pieces and poetry. Introduced by his son, Adam Cohen, The Flame was selected and ordered by Cohen himself in the final months of his life in 2016. The final piece in an incredible literary career, this collection is certainly one of the most anticipated in the autumn calendar.

And on 12 October, 6.30-8pm, Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh will be hosting the official co-launch of Alec Finlay’s Gatherings and Gerry Loose’s Night Exposures. The poets will read from their work and continue the event in conversation. Both poets work across vast ranges of media, with Loose’s poetry often found within his work as a land artist and Finlay’s considering how culture(s) relate to landscape and ecology.