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Isobel Dixon
October 28, 2016 03:11 AM PDT
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In this podcast Jennifer Williams talks to the poet Isobel Dixon about the universal and the particular, collaboration and making space in a busy schedule to write, how to bring in the personal in poetry and much more.

Please note: unfortunately there is a buzz from a mobile signal through some short sections of this podcast. We have edited it out where possible, but could not take it out altogether, and we didn’t want to lose too much of Isobel’s interview. We hope it won’t detract from your enjoyment in listening. Many thanks.

Many thanks to James Iremonger for the music in this podcast.

Helen Mort
October 11, 2016 11:15 AM PDT
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Helen Mort is one of the UK's most exciting young voices. She came into the SPL to talk about her second book No Maps Could Show Them (Chatto & Windus) and to read poems from the collection. During the course of the interview, she talks about female pioneers of mountaineering, the strange health risks men believed running posed women, and the historical characters she's drawn to writing about.

Sarah Howe
September 22, 2016 04:46 AM PDT
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In this podcast, the poet Sarah Howe talks to Jennifer Williams about kicking off the 2016 Edinburgh International Book Festival, writing with multiple languages and alphabets, sense and non-sense in poetry and much more.


Sarah Howe is a British poet, academic and editor. Her first book, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus, 2015), won the T.S. Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times / PFD Young Writer of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

Born in Hong Kong in 1983 to an English father and Chinese mother, she moved to England as a child. Her pamphlet, A Certain Chinese Encyclopedia (Tall-lighthouse, 2009), won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors.

Her poems have appeared in journals including Poetry Review, Poetry London, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Ploughshares and Poetry, as well as anthologies such as Ten: The New Wave and four editions of The Best British Poetry. She has performed her work at festivals internationally and on BBC Radio 3 & 4. She is the founding editor of Prac Crit, an online journal of poetry and criticism.

Previous fellowships include a Research Fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, a Hawthornden Fellowship, the Harper-Wood Studentship for English Poetry and a Fellowship at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute. Find out more about her latest academic projects here. She is currently a Leverhulme Fellow in English at University College London.

Photo credit: Hayley Madden

Don Paterson and Krystelle Bamford
August 31, 2016 08:37 AM PDT
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Two poets, one podcast. Krystelle Bamford and Don Paterson are reading together at the Scottish Poetry Library at an event we’re holding on Wednesday 23 November, 6pm. Tickets are £7 (£5).

Bamford was born in the US but has been living in Edinburgh for over five years now. She completed an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews and has been published in The American Poetry Review and The Kenyon Review, and she has also won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award.

Two-time winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, Don Paterson more than deserves his reputation as one of Britain's foremost poets. His latest collection is 40 Sonnets (Faber). He hails from Dundee, and is living in Edinburgh these days.

Both poets came into the SPL in July where we spoke about translations, sonnets and what sort of a character makes for a good poem.

Iain Morrison
August 17, 2016 01:45 AM PDT
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In this podcast, Jennifer Williams speaks to Iain Morrison about poetry and art, being able to write about sex and identity, the influence of Emily Dickinson and much more.


Claire Askew
August 04, 2016 02:52 AM PDT
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Claire Askew is the author of an acclaimed debut, This Changes Things (Bloodaxe), and has been shortlisted for the 2016 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Her poetry challenges its readers to consider the position from which they interpret it. She isn't content to merely point the finger; her work proceeds from an ongoing questioning of her own background and what it might blind her to. In our latest podcast, Askew discusses privilege, the danger of appropriating the experience of others, and why she's so drawn to writing poems about her grandparents.

Carrie Etter
July 20, 2016 04:48 AM PDT
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In this podcast Jennifer Williams talks to Illinois-born, Bath-based poet Carrie Etter about her newest collection, Scar (Shearsman 2016), a sequence exploring the impact of climate change on her home state of Illinois which speaks to problems faced by all of us as we enter this period of environmental catastrophe. They also discuss the importance of introducing students to a diverse range of poetic styles and voices, trends in American and UK poetry, and much more.




Carrie Etter is an American poet resident in England since 2001. Previously she lived in Normal, Illinois (until age 19) and southern California (from age 19 to 32). In the UK, her poems have appeared in, amongst others, New Welsh Review, Poetry Wales, Poetry Review, PN Review, Shearsman, Stand and TLS, while in the US her poems have appeared in magazines such as Aufgabe, Columbia, Court Green, The Iowa Review, The New Republic, Seneca Review. Her first collection, The Tethers, was published by Seren in June 2009, and her second, Divining for Starters, containing more experimental work, was published by Shearsman in 2011. Her third collection, Imagined Sons, was published by Seren in 2014. Scar, her newest book, was published by Shearsman in 2016. She is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing for Bath Spa University and has been a tutor for The Poetry School since 2005.

Harry Giles
July 06, 2016 03:19 AM PDT
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Among the younger generation of Scottish poets, Harry Giles stands out. Shortlisted for the Edward Morgan Poetry Award and the Forward Prize for Best Debut Collection, Giles is clearly going places. Last year saw the publication of the narrative verse sequence Drone in Our Real Red Selves (Vagabond Voices) and his full collection Tonguit (Freight Books). It seemed a good time to catch up with the poet and activist. We spoke to him about politics, a messy take on the Scots language, and the time the Daily Mail called him 'vile'.

Shara McCallum
June 30, 2016 03:50 AM PDT
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In this podcast Jennifer Williams speaks to Jamaican-born, American-based poet Shara McCallum about her new Robert Burns poetry project which brought her to Scotland for a research visit; the lyric self; female and minority voices in poetry and much more.

With thanks to James Iremonger for the music in this podcast. https://jamesiremonger.wordpress.com/tabla/

SHARA MCCALLUM http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/shara-mccallum

Originally from Jamaica, Shara McCallum is the author of five books of poetry: Madwoman (forthcoming fall 2016, Alice James Books, US; spring 2017, Peepal Tree Press, UK); The Face of Water: New and Selected Poems (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2011); This Strange Land (Alice James Books, US, 2011), a finalist for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature; Song of Thieves (University of Pittsburgh Press, US, 2003); and The Water Between Us (University of Pittsburgh Press, US, 1999), winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize for Poetry.

Recognition for her work includes a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant, a Cave Canem Fellowship, inclusion in the Best American Poetry series, and a poetry prize from the Academy of American Poets.

Her poems have appeared in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies in the US, the Caribbean, Latin America, the UK and other parts of Europe, and Israel; have been reprinted in over thirty textbooks and anthologies of American, African American, Caribbean, and world literatures; and have been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, and Romanian. McCallum is also an essayist and publishes reviews and essays regularly in print and online at such sites as the Poetry Society of America. She has delivered readings throughout the US and internationally, including at the Library of Congress, Folger Shakespeare Library, Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Miami Book Fair International, Calabash Festival (Jamaica), Bocas Lit Fest (Trinidad), StAnza (Scotland), Poesia en el Laurel (Spain), Incoci di Civilta (Italy), and at numerous colleges and universities.

Since 2003, McCallum has served as Director of the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University, where she is a Professor in the Creative Writing Program. She has been a faculty member in the University of Memphis MFA program, Drew University Low-Residency MFA Program, Stonecoast Low-Residency MFA program, and at the University of West Indies in Barbados.

Alan Riach
June 07, 2016 05:33 AM PDT
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Over 250 years ago, Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair (Alexander MacDonald) wrote The Birlinn of Clanranald (Kettillonia, £5), an epic poem in Gaelic describing the troubled voyage of a galley from South Uist to Northern Ireland. Scotland itself was going through a stormy period post-Culloden, which the author, as a Jacobite sympathizer, knew fine well.

Poet and Professor of Scottish literature Alan Riach has recently published an English-language version of The Birlinn of Clanranald, and he came into the Library to discuss it. Over 30 minutes he talks about translating from Gaelic when you're not fluent in the language, the author's dangerous times, and why the climatic storm sequence is reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft.

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