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Liz Berry
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April 26, 2019 04:38 AM PDT
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Liz Berry was born in the Black Country which gave her first collection its title. Black Country won a chorus of praise, not to mention a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and Forward Prize for Best First Collection. The collection is characterised by poems written in the Black Country dialect.

Her recent pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet choice and was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award, while its title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018. 

Recorded at the StAnza Poetry Festival in St Andrews, Berry talks about the lack of poetry that tells the truth about the experience of childbirth and rearing, the Black Country accent and pigeons.

Fiona Moore
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March 29, 2019 07:06 AM PDT
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Fiona Moore works today as a full-time writer but, as you’ll hear in this podcast, she joined the Foreign Office after graduating from university, and it was through this job that she lived for periods in the 1980s in Eastern European countries behind the Iron Curtain. Her insights into totalitarianism inspired several poems which are all too timely. She reviews poetry, having served as an assistant editor for The Rialto. In 2014, she was Saboteur Best Reviewer. Her debut pamphlet, The Only Reason for Time, was a Guardian poetry book of the year and her second, Night Letter, was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets. Her first full collection, The Distal Point was published by HappenStance last year, and was described by her publisher as a book ‘in which she confronts personal loss and irretrievable change, as well as wider, more public themes—recent European history and the politics of power.’ In this podcast, Moore discusses grief, dictators and Brexit.

Ilyse Kusnetz and Brian Turner
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February 28, 2019 08:45 AM PST
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The Library was saddened when we heard the American poet Ilyse Kusnetz had died in 2016; two years before her death, she'd recorded a podcast with the Library.

A new collection of work, Angel Bones, written while she was undergoing treatment for cancer, is about to be published by Alice James Books.

The book has been overseen into publication by Kusnetz's husband Brian Turner, a poet, editor and memoirist himself. He’s the author of the collections Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise and the memoir My Life as a Foreign Country.

We spoke to Turner about Kusnetz and Angel Bones via Skype as he is living in Florida. He talks about her love of Scotland and its poetry, the anger contemporary politics caused her, and how her poems take you inside the process of treatment for cancer.

Don Paterson on Aphorisms
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January 31, 2019 02:57 AM PST
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Towards the end of 2018, Don Paterson came to the Scottish Poetry Library to discuss his latest book, The Fall at Home: New and Collected Aphorisms, which is published by Faber. Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize and Whitbread Poetry Award, Paterson is one of Scotland's most accomplished poets, not to mention a musician, and in recent years has published several volumes of aphorisms, which are brought together in The Fall at Home. During the podcast, he discusses the relationship between poetry and aphorisms, why the English-speaking world doesn't have a strong tradition of aphorisms, and what happened the time he attended an aphorists convention.

Happy 100th Birthday, Muriel Spark! With Rob A Mackenzie and Louise Peterkin
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December 18, 2018 04:14 AM PST
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Muriel Spark's 100th birthday was celebrated in 2018 in several ways honouring her status as arguably the greatest Scottish novelist of the twentieth century. One of the more imaginative ways came late in the year with the publication of Spark: Poetry and Art Inspired by the Novels of Muriel Spark, which was edited by poets Rob A Mackenzie and Louise Peterkin and published by Blue Diode. With contributors including Tishani Doshi, Vahni Capildeo and Sean O'Brien, the anthology does Spark justice. Mackenzie and Peterkin came into the SPL to talk about Spark and her career as a poet, from her controversial time at the Poetry Society in the 1940s to how poetry informed her novels. Plus a tribute to the late Matthew Sweeney.

Tom Pow on Alastair Reid
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November 22, 2018 06:16 AM PST
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To mark the publication of Barefoot: The Collected Poems of Alastair Reid (Galileo), this episode is dedicated to the late poet. Alastair Reid was a poet, an essayist, translator and traveller. Born in 1926 in Galloway, he served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War before moving to the US in the early 1950s, where he was published in The New Yorker, the start of a long association with that magazine. In the decades that followed he travelled the world, establishing friendships with two South African poets he translated, Neruda and Borges. Tom Pow, Barefoot's editor, discusses Reid's life and work: what Reid thought of his homeland, his relationships with Borges and Neruda, and how Pow came to know Reid the man and Reid the poet.

The SPL wishes to thank The Poetry Archive for granting us permission to feature a performance of Reid reading 'Weathering'.

Tishani Doshi
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October 17, 2018 06:09 AM PDT
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Tishani Doshi's third collection Girls are Coming Out of the Woods is one of the great collections of 2018. In August, while appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Doshi visited the SPL where she spoke about the new collection. On the podcast, she discusses writing poems that address violence against women during the MeToo era, how comfortable she is to describe herself as a poet, and why Patrick Swayze is worthy of an ode.

Mark Ford
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August 31, 2018 01:52 AM PDT
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Guest interviewer Suzannah V. Evans sits down with Mark Ford in an interview recorded at the StAnza Poetry Festival. Ford discusses the influence of Ashbery and O'Hara, Walt Whitman's 'children', and how he puts a set together for a reading.

Sarah Stewart and Russell Jones
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July 25, 2018 04:58 AM PDT
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Our latest episode has not one but two poets: Sarah Stewart and Russell Jones, emerging voices on the Scottish poetry scene. Both are writers and editors based in Edinburgh who have new pamphlets published by Tapsalteerie: Glisk by Stewart, Dark Matters by Jones.

Jones has published several pamphlets and a full-length collection in 2015 on Freight Books, The Green Dress Whose Girl is Sleeping. He was also co-editor of the anthology Umbrellas of Edinburgh (Freight).

Glisk is Stewart's first pamphlet. She is also known as Sarah Forbes, author of the Elspeth Hart series of books for children. Together, the poets discuss sexism, apocalypses and Daleks.

Sean O'Brien
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June 28, 2018 06:09 AM PDT
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As the age of Brexit continues to bear down on Britain, Sean O'Brien returns with a collection called Europa (Picador). One of only two poets to win the Forward and T.S. Eliot Prizes for the same collection (The Drowned Book in 2007), O'Brien talks to the SPL about fascism, leaving Europe (and whether it's actually even possible) and liking bands long after they've passed they sell-by date.

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