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John Burnside on W.S. Graham
July 30, 2020 10:18 AM PDT
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The SPL is pleased to be able to share a treasure from our audio archives: from 2008, a talk by poet and novelist John Burnside on fellow Scottish poet W.S. Graham. During the talk, recorded at the National Library of Scotland before an audience, Burnside talks about poetry and visual art, the poet as nomad and 'feeding the dead'.

Volya Hapeyeva and Annie Rutherford
July 03, 2020 06:52 AM PDT
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Volha or Volya Hapeyeva is a Belarusian poet and translator.Her new pamphlet In My Garden of Mutants, which will be published by Arc early next year, was translated by Annie Richardson, a translator based in Edinburgh.In the first podcast recorded during the lockdown, Annie talks from Scotland's capital and Volya from Austria about the joys of translation, Britain's lamentable record on learning foreign languages and whether now is the right time to be writing poems about the pandemic.

Image taken by Zhanna Gladko.

Nancy Campbell
June 12, 2020 04:08 AM PDT
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Nancy Campbell is a writer of poetry, essays and non-fiction. A series of residencies with Arctic research institutions between 2010 and 2017 has resulted in many projects responding to the environment, most recently The Library of Ice: Readings in a Cold Climate, which was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019. Campbell’s first poetry collection Disko Bay was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2016 and the 2017 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. In 2018/19 she was appointed the UK’s Canal Laureate by the Canal & River Trust and The Poetry Society.

In our latest podcast, Nancy Campbell talks to Suzannah V. Evans at StAnza, Scotland's poetry festival.

Christopher Whyte
May 28, 2020 07:02 AM PDT
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Christopher Whyte is a poet and translator whose last collection, Step by Step, which is published by Acair, was runner-up in the 2019 Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Prize. Whyte stopped off at the SPL towards the end of last year accompanied by his translator Petra Poncarova.

Since Christopher Whyte’s Gaelic poetry first appeared in the 1980s, he has been an influential and sometimes controversial figure in the world of Gaelic writing. In Whyte’s work, poetry and language are inescapably political, bound up with questions of belonging, enfranchisement and equality. But he is also an intensely personal poet.

During the course of our interview, he discusses how he came to learn Gaelic, why it is a language of resistance, and his relationships with several Scottish poetry greats such as Derrick Thomson, Sorley macLean and Edwin Morgan, with who he conducted a groundbreaking interview.

Ella Frears
April 02, 2020 02:41 AM PDT
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Ella Frears is a poet and visual artist based in south-east London. She has had poetry published in the LRB, Poetry London, Ambit, The Rialto, Poetry Daily, POEM, and the Moth among others. Her pamphlet Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity was published by Goldsmiths Press 2018. Her debut collection, Shine, Darling is published by Offord Road Books, and came out in April, 2020.

Suzanna V Evans spoke with Ella Frears at the StAnza Poetry Festival in 2019. Frears reads her poems and discusses sand, vintage porn and the interplay between her roles as a writer and visual artist.

Photo credit: Cat Goryn

Juana Adcock and Tessa Berring
February 20, 2020 03:49 AM PST
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This week's podcast features not one but two poets, both published by Blue Diode: Juana Adcock and Tessa Berring.

Juana Adcock is a Mexican-born Scotland-based poet and translator who works in both English and Spanish. In her first book Manca, she explored her native country’s violence. Her translations have been published in Asymptote and Words Without Borders, and she has worked on translations for the British Council and Conaculta, Mexico’s council for culture and the arts.

Tessa Berring is an Edinburgh-based artist and writer. Her poetry has recently appeared in Gutter Magazine, Magma, and The Rialto. In 2017 her poetry sequence Cut Glass and No Flowers was published by Chicago-based Dancing Girl Press. She is also 1/12 of '12', a women's poetry collective based in Scotland.

Aileen Ballantyne
January 24, 2020 03:53 AM PST
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Before becoming a poet, Aileen Ballantyne was a journalist, and it's her former profession that informs her poetry, not least in a sequence of poems in her recently published collection Taking Flight that explore the aftermath of 1988's Lockerbie bombing, still the worst terrorist attack to take place on British soil. Ballantyne also reads poems about the moon landing and childhood flights to the USA.

Alan Spence: Edinburgh Makar
December 20, 2019 04:30 AM PST
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In June 2019, poet, playwright and novelist Alan Spence performed at the Library to mark his first year as the Makar or Poet Laureate of Edinburgh. We recorded the event and present it to you now. During the performance he talks about some initial misgivings about how to make the post work, how he overcame those doubts, he reads many of the Edinburgh-based commissions he’s worked on during that first year and reads an ode to the former international Scottish rugby player Dodie Weir.

A note on the sound – as it’s a recording of a live performance rather than our usual interview, the quality is a little more ragged than usual. So apologies for the odd seagull, car reversing and cough.

Stewart Conn
December 04, 2019 04:18 AM PST
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Over a decade has passed since Stewart Conn was Edinburgh's Makar or Poet Laureate, yet the city continues to exert its influence upon him. His latest collection Aspects of Edinburgh maps the city as well as his fascination with its buildings, history and people.

Conn was born in 1936, growing up mainly in Kilmarnock, where his father was a minister. He worked at the BBC from 1962, mainly as a radio drama producer, becoming Head of Radio Drama, until he resigned in 1992. Publications include An Ear to the Ground (Poetry Book Society Choice); Stolen Light (shortlisted for the Saltire Prize), The Breakfast Room (2011 Scottish Poetry Book of the Year) and a new and selected volume The Touch of Time (Bloodaxe).

In our latest podcast, Conn discusses his collaboration with illustrator John Knight, and how he was initially wary of writing about the capital because he isn't a native.

Tolu Agbelusi
October 30, 2019 07:17 AM PDT
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Tolu Agbelusi is a Nigerian British, poet, playwright, performer, educator and lawyer, with compelling story telling skills. Her work 'addresses the unperformed self, womanhood and the art of living. For our latest podcast Suzannah V. Evans interviewed Agbelusi at Stanza, Scotland's poetry festival, earlier this year. Agbelusi talks about building communities and empowering people through literature; she is the founder of Home Sessions, a development program and community for Black poets under 30.

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