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Henry Marsh
November 03, 2017 04:26 AM PDT
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Henry Marsh is a Scottish poet who divides his time writing about the natural world and Scotland's troubled history. In the past, he's written about Mary Queen of Scots, John Knox and the Covenanters. In his latest collection, Under Winter Skies (Birlinn), Marsh focuses on James Graham, the first Marquess of Montrose, a brilliant soldier and poet who changed sides during the War of the Three Kingdoms. Marsh explains why he wanted to write an entire collection about this tragic figure in the SPL's latest podcast.

Sinéad Morrissey
September 28, 2017 06:07 AM PDT
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Winner of the 2017 Forward Prize, Sinéad Morrissey visited the Scottish Poetry Library to talk about her latest collection, On Balance (Carcanet).

Morrissey grew up in Northern Ireland. At the age of 18, she won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, an early indicator of future success. She’s worked with schools, charities, prisoners, and while Laureate of Belfast, she met the Queen. Currently, she’s living in Northumberland and working in the creative writing department at the University of Newcastle.

During the course of the podcast, Morrissey talks about her fascination with engineering, her grandfather's communism, and why writing is a spooky art.

Joni Wallace
August 24, 2017 08:19 AM PDT
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Joni Wallace grew up in Los Alamos, the birthplace of the atom bomb. Her latest collection Kingdom Come Radio Hour (Barrow Street Press), which is inspired by her childhood, focuses on the extraordinary life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the nuclear bomb. Wallace discusses her personal connection to Oppenheimer, 'documentary poetics', Hank Williams, and why deer appear so often in her work.

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'.

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