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Umbrellas of Edinburgh
July 27, 2017 07:23 AM PDT
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Last year, the publisher Freight put out an anthology called Umbrellas of Edinburgh. This collection of new work brought together poems all about Scotland’s capital. Co-edited by Claire Askew and Russell Jones, Umbrellas of Edinburgh is a poetic map of the city, from the centre and Princess Street, to the rim of the city and areas like Wester Hailes. There are also, as you’ll hear, poems about Edinburgh’s monuments and landmarks. Many of the poets you’ll hear have appeared on previous SPL podcasts, writers such as Harry Giles, Christine De Luca and Ryan Van Winkle. Many may be new to you. There’s even a poem about the Scottish Poetry Library waiting for you at the end of the podcast.

Image: Umbrellas Near London Bridge by C., under a Creative Commons licence

JL Williams: After Economy
June 29, 2017 04:16 AM PDT
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JL Williams (also known as one of our former podcast hosts, Jennifer WIlliams) recently published a new collection After Economy (Shearsman), inspired by nanotechnology and a vision of a post-capitalist society. In May, she launched the book at Edinburgh's Talbot Rice Gallery, accompanied by cellist Atzi Muramatsu. In the latest episode of the SPL's podcast series, we include excerpts of Williams' and Muramatsu's performance, plus Williams talks about the inspiration behind After Economy.

Jim Carruth
May 18, 2017 08:24 AM PDT
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With warm words on the back of his latest collection from Douglas Dunn and Les Murray, Jim Carruth comes highly recommended. Scotland's leading living poet of its rural experience, Carruth grew up on a family farm near Kilbarchan.

His first collection Bovine Pastoral was published in 2004, since when he has brought out a further five collections, the latest of which is Black Cart (Freight, 2016). In 2010 he was chosen as one of the poets showcased in Oxford Poets 2010.

In 2014 he was appointed Poet Laureate of Glasgow. He's also one of the founders of St Mungo’s Mirrorball, which is responsible for one of Glasgow's best poetry nights and for pairing emerging poets with experienced poets for a year's mentorship.

In our latest podcast, Carruth discusses Scotland and the rural experience, mental health in the countryside, and not taking over the family farm.

William Letford
April 18, 2017 07:50 AM PDT
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Nicholas Lezard called William Letford 'the new Scottish genius', a judgement the SPL is not inclined to disagree with. With a new collection, Dirt (Carcanet), in the shops, we thought it was a good time to catch up with him. We discussed how India changed his life and poetry, whether he's funnier in Scots and the influence of work.

When Russia Met Scotland
March 23, 2017 06:50 AM PDT
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In September 2016, the SPL, the British Council and Edwin Morgan Trust, took three Scottish poets – Stewart Sanderson, Christine De Luca and Jen Hadfield – to Russia as part of celebrations of the the UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature 2016 and the global Shakespeare Lives programme commemorating the 400th anniversary of his death. While there, they worked with three Russian poets – Marina Boroditskaya, Grigorii Kruzhkov and Lev Oborin – on translations of each other’s work.

In March 2017, the second leg of the exchange took the Russian poets to Scotland for a series of readings across the country. While in Edinburgh they spoke with their Scottish counterparts about translation, Shakespeare, living in a capital city.

Vicki Husband
February 23, 2017 07:40 AM PST
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Vicki Husband is one of the most interesting Scottish poets to have emerged in the past year. 2016 saw the publication of her debut This Far Back Everything Shimmers (Vagabond Voices), which was shortlisted for the Saltire Society's Scottish Poetry Book of the Year Award, where she found herself shortlisted alongside Kathleen Jamie and Don Paterson. Her poems mix science and the everyday, finding the cosmic in the quotidian and vice versa. She talks to the SPL about using bees to diagnose illness, her mentor, the late Alexander Hutchison, and why there are so many animals in her poems.

Vahni Capildeo
January 26, 2017 01:40 AM PST
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‘I write because I must,’ says Vahni Capildeo, winner of the 2016 Forward Prize for Best Collection for Measures of Expatriation (published by Carcanet).
‘I think poetry,’ she says, ‘is a natural expression of humanity that has not been brutalized – which is able to take time and concentrate.’

In this podcast, Capildeo discusses the impact studying Old Norse at university had on her poetry, how women's voices are silenced, and why she objects to the word 'migrant'.

Andrew McMillan
December 20, 2016 07:10 AM PST
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Andrew McMillan is the author of Physical (published by Jonathan Cape), which won the Guardian First Book Award, the first time a collection of poetry won the prize. He was born in 1988 and grew up in a small village outside Barnsley in south Yorkshire, studying English at Lancaster and University College London before becoming a lecturer in creative writing at Liverpool John Moores University.

He visited the SPL in August of 2016 while up in Edinburgh for the EIBF. During the course of the interview he talks about the one thing he tries to instill in his creative writing students, the criminal neglect of poet Thom Gunn, and why there are so few poems about going to the gym.

Image: Urszula Sołtys

Eleanor Wilner (and Jennifer says goodbye)
December 07, 2016 03:19 AM PST
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In this goodbye podcast from Jennifer Williams, she shares her very first SPL interview with the American poet Eleanor Wilner. Jennifer first met Eleanor at the Scottish Poetry Library soon after she started, and Eleanor continues to be a friend and mentor for Jennifer in her life as a poet (www.jlwilliamspoetry.co.uk) and person who believes that art can do good work in the world. Jennifer would like to say a huge thank you to all the listeners out there who have tuned in all these years.

Eleanor Wilner: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/eleanor-wilner

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

The Loud Poets
November 25, 2016 03:07 AM PST
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Since forming in 2014, the Loud Poets have been wowing festival audiences from Edinburgh to Prague with their live shows. Comprised of Kevin Mclean, Catherine Wilson, Doug Garry, and Katie Ailes, plus musicians, plus a large number of 'reserve members', the Loud Poets have attracted a lively and loyal following.

In the SPL's latest podcast, we ask the loud Poets about their 'origin story', making space for their brand of spoken word, and what they plan to do at the special Christmas show they're putting on here at the SPL.

That's right. The Loud Poets will be performing at the SPL on Wednesday 7 December, 6pm (with tickets £7 pr £5 concessions). Figgy pudding not supplied. Tickets can be bought here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/loud-poets-xmas-special-tickets-27026741712

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