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Public | Schools | Community | Hunt the poem

Each year, the City of Literature Trust dedicates the month of February to one book, to get us all reading together.  In 2010, it was the Carry a Poem collection, and we ran a month of special Carry a Poem events across Edinburgh.

You can read the events leaflet, or click the headers below for articles about each event.

Interested in literary events? The City of Literature’s What’s On site lists up-to-date events.

Poetry Projections

Buildings across Edinburgh carried poems in February – from the Usher Hall and the National Library of Scotland to the Royal Mile and City Chambers on Cockburn Street. We also lit up Leith Walk and, just for St Valentine’s Day, Edinburgh Castle!

The Old Town Poetry Trail

The poetic history of the Old Town on a walking tour led by poet Ken Cockburn. From the High Street to the Scottish Parliament, visiting courtyards, kirkyards and vennels, accompanied by the words of poets old and new, from Burns and Fergusson to MacCaig and De Luca.

Poetry Olympics

A day of family fun and poetry like you’ve never seen before! Families took the Carry a Poem Olympic Challenge, with poem and spoon, sack races, toss the poem and much more athletic activity. Face painting and tea stall included.

Bookshop Poetry Party Night

Bring Out Your Poetry! This special evening of poetry and words featured local poets Vivian French and Susie Maguie alongside Jen Campbell, who came up specially from London.  There was also an open mic opportunity, and a glass of wine or two in the convivial surroundings of the Edinburgh Bookshop.

Poetry Snowdrops

A stroll with the Botanics’ Ranger Team to glimpse the first snowdrops. Where was the poetry, we hear you say? There was a snowdrop poem for each person to carry home.

Kind of Larkin

Readings from Philip Larkin’s jazz poetry and extracts from his amusing jazz reviews, with appropriate instrumental jazz played by a live band… Ba ba ba boom. Actor John Sessions took the part of Larkin.

Getting into Poetry

For those inspired to get closer to poetry by the Carry a Poem campaign, the Scottish Poetry Library’s Lilias Fraser led a session to help people enjoy reading poetry for pleasure.

Carry a Poem Aloud

Do you have a favourite poem? Do you love hearing poems read aloud? The Scottish Poetry Library dedicated one of their regular poems aloud sessions to the poems we carry with us, in our hearts and even in our pockets.


The John Hope Gateway at the Botanics encouraged people to take a moment to create their own poem or write down a line they’ve never forgotten and hang it on the indoor ‘poetry tree’.

Poetry in St Andrew Square

The Poetry Garden in St Andrew Square was be-decked with poems, hanging from trees and shrubs.

Take a poem to WHALE

Throughout February, WHALE Arts Centre collected the poems people carry through their special poetry box. All the poems were exhibited in the last week of February.

Picture The Poem

Edinburgh Napier University asked primary school children to draw how they carry their favourite poem, either for real or in their imagination. All the work featured in an exhibition at the University’s Craighouse Campus, an at the City Chambers. There was an awards ceremony too!

The Golden Hour

This eclectic evening of poetry, stories, cartoons and music sent people away carrying a poem in their head and a song in their step! Host Ryan Van Winkle was joined by poet Tom Pow, Read This’ Claire Askew, writer Ewan Morrison and live music from Robin Grey and Diddly Squat.

School Events

The schools programme of activity included free books for every Edinburgh school, the Picture the Poem competition for primary schools and special events run by our Poetry School, Holyrood High School.

Community Events

The community-based programme dedicated books and resources to adult learners, community centres and book groups.

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