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Andrew, Lori, Darren and Paul’s Stories Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Schools blog, Stories.
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The poem Andrew carries is ‘Epitaph on Robert Southey’ by Thomas Moore – he especially likes the line:

Beneath these buried deep

Darren has chosen Edwin Arlington Robinson’s ‘Miniver Cheevy’:

Miniver cursed the Common place And eyed a Khaki suit with loathing;

he missed the medieval grace of iron cloathing.

Lori has written in to say she has chosen ‘Daffodils’ and it is written by William Wordsworth. She likes these lines:

The waves beside them danced

but they out-did the sparkling waves in glee,

because they are very creative and very thoughtful words.

Andrew’ s favourite poem is Douglas Dunn’s ‘Men of Terry Street.’ His favourite 2 lines are:

I hear their foot steps the ticking of bicycle chains sudden blasts of motorcycles,whimpering of vans.

He likes this poem because its got a lot to do with motorbikes and cars – also it very dramatic.

Andrew, Lori, Darren and Paul are all pupils at South Queensferry High School.

Poetry Pocketcards – In Detail Monday, 22 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Behind the Scenes, Poets.
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The 20 different poetry pocketcards we produced have proved very popular – we set 50,000 of them free across town so people could instantly begin to Carry a Poem, if they didn’t already. Which is your favourite?

Carol Ann Duffy is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and in May 2009 was appointed Poet Laureate – both the first woman and the first Scot to hold the post.  She has won a series of major awards, including the T S Eliot prize for Rapture, the Whitbread Poetry Award for Mean Time and a Scottish Arts Council Award for Standing Female Nude.

Primarily a poet, Diana also writes short stories and is the author of many children’s books. She’s worked as a journalist, English teacher and a tutor at the University of Bristol, University of the West of England and the Open University. She has tutored many creative writing courses for the Arvon Foundation and for a year was writer-in-residence at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary. She is a member of Shore Poets, and is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow based at Edinburgh University. She writes the occasional book review for The Spectator.

As a poet, Alan Spence has made zestful use of haiku in Glasgow Zen, Seasons of the Heart and Clear Light. He uses the haiku form to explore the essential paradox of life, discovering timelessness in cycles of changes, immanence in the finite, simplicity in the intricate. He has received many awards for his writing. Alan Spence is based in Edinburgh where he and his wife run the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre, and he is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen, where he is also artistic director of the annual WORD Festival.  His new book, coming out in May, is called Morning Glory. It’s a collection of haiku and tanka, with illustrations by Elizabeth Blackadder, and it’s published by Renaissance Press.Alec is an artist, poet & publisher. Born in Scotland in 1966, he now lives in the North-East of England, in Byker (Newcastle upon Tyne). He is currently artist in residence at NaREC the New and Renewable Energy Centre (Blyth), and working on commissions for Milton Keynes Gallery, Kielder Partnership and Bluecoat Gallery (Liverpool). He has worked on collaborative poetry and art projects with children, including WORDWOOD, Mesostic Laboratorium, Mesostic Curriculum and nine colours.

Susie Maguire is a former actor, comedy performer and TV presenter, who now writes fiction. She is deviser and editor of Little Black Dress, an anthology of short stories by women on the theme of the ubiquitous and iconic frock, published March 2006. Her own stories are published in two collections: Furthermore and The Short Hello. Her poetry collection How To Hug is available from Mariscat Press or via www.scottish-pamphlet-poetry.com.

Susie Maguire and Edinburgh author Vivian French have together created poetry pin badges, available from The Edinburgh Bookshop or by direct request.Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She has published five collections of poetry for adults, all published by Bloodaxe – The Adoption Papers (winner of a Forward Prize, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award), Other Lovers (which won the Somerset Maugham Award), Off Colour, shortlisted for the 1999 TS Eliot Award, Life Mask (2005) and Darling: New and Selected Poems (2007). Her first novel, Trumpet (Picador, 1998), won the Guardian Fiction Prize, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and The Authors’ Club First Novel Award. She has written for the stage and television and worked with composer Mark Anthony Turnage.

Douglas Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, in 1942. In 1991 he was appointed Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. He has won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and has twice been awarded prizes by the Scottish Arts Council. In 1981 he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for St Kilda’s Parliament. In 1986 he was overall winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for his collection Elegies.

Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh is a Gaelic poet based in Scotland.

John Hegley was born in 1953 in Newington Green, and moved to Luton at an early age. He has worked with two children’s theatre groups, ‘Interaction’ and ‘Soapbox’, and began his highly successful career at the notoriously tough comedy store in 1980. His first notable media exposure was the John Peel sessions (Radio One), with songs about spectacles and the misery of human existence. In 2000, John received an honorary Arts Doctorate from Luton University and had his most notable live engagement in a women’s prison, Medellin, Columbia. John’s latest collections are The Sound of Paint Drying (Methuen 2003), Uncut Confetti (Methuen 2006) and The Adventures of Monsieur Robinet (Donut Press 2009).

Jenny Joseph was born in Birmingham, and studied English literature at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, before becoming a journalist. She was awarded the 1986 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for her fiction work Persepone, and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Her best known poem, Warning, was written in 1961 and included in her 1974 collection Rose In the Afternoon and the The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse.

Read on – more poets and pocketcards >>>

Poetry Lights Up Edinburgh Castle Monday, 15 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Events, Poetry in Edinburgh, Poets.

“Look to the living, love them, and hold on” will be projected onto the north face of Castle Rock from dusk on St Valentine’s Day to celebrate the importance of love in all its forms.  The line is from ‘Disenchantments’, a poem by the award-winning Scottish poet, Douglas Dunn.

The projection took place until 11.00pm on Sunday 14th February.

Poetry Projections in Edinburgh

Ali Bowden, Director of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, said “We are delighted that Historic Scotland is supporting the Carry A Poem campaign, and joining us in bringing poetry to Edinburgh Castle, the iconic cultural image of Scotland’s Capital City.  This one-off projection joins 5 other poems shining throughout the city – 2 onto the City Chambers, the new extension of the Usher Hall, the National Library of Scotland and at the Foot of Leith Walk – all of which can be enjoyed until March.”

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and External Affairs, said “Edinburgh Castle is a fitting choice to be one of the key focal points of this innovative campaign, which celebrates Edinburgh’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature. As a city and as a country we are extremely proud of this and by celebrating it in this way I hope that it provides local people and visitors alike with a powerful and memorable symbol of our diverse and renowned literary heritage.”

The Poet

Robyn Marsack, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, said “Douglas Dunn’s lines are so appropriate: they say that love endures, like the Castle rock which they’ll illuminate for a night.”

Douglas Dunn commented “I’m really chuffed – it’s like having my name in lights above a theatre – and what a theatre!  I’m so pleased to be involved.”

Douglas Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, in 1942. In 1991 he was appointed Profess

or in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. He has won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and has twice been awarded prizes by the Scottish Arts Council. In 1981 he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for St Kilda’s Parliament. In January 1986 he was overall winner of the 1985 Whitbread Book of the Year Award for his collection ‘Elegies.’

Carry a Poem Campaign

Jenny Dawe, Leader of City of Edinburgh Council said “There can be few cities in the world as romantic or inspiring as Edinburgh, and what better focal point for this St Valentine’s Day poetry projection than our iconic Castle? Carry a Poem is proving to be a hugely thought-provoking campaign in this City of Literature, demonstrating the power of words to move, amuse and console us.”

Poets For Haiti Event Thursday, 11 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Events, Poetry in Edinburgh.
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The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, is to lead a once-in-a lifetime line-up of award winning Scottish and UK poets in Edinburgh to raise funds for the Haiti earthquake disaster appeal.   The event will take place on Sun 28 Feb at 6pm in the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh.

Carol Ann Duffy said “Poetry has the power of prayer and is the place in language where we are most human. The people of Haiti need our humanity right now.”

20 of the foremost poets in the land are coming together for an unforgettable evening of the finest poetry for the most urgent of causes.  The event was inspired by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and Dundonian Don Paterson, who next month will receive the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.  Poets reading on the night include such major literary figures as Alasdair Gray, Douglas Dunn, Jackie Kay, Kathleen Jamie and Sean O’Brien (the only writer to take the UK’s top two poetry awards – the Forward Prize and T S Eliot Prize – in the same year); as well as four UK poets laureate – Liz Lochhead (Glasgow), Ron Butlin (Edinburgh), Gillian Clarke (Wales) and Carol Ann Duffy.

Don Paterson said: “We’ve been completely overwhelmed with the speed and generosity of our colleagues’ response – it should all add up to the most spectacular poetry event ever seen north of the border, and we hope as many people as possible will come along and show their support.”

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has given his full support to the event, describing Carol Ann Duffy as a “visionary humanitarian” and saying ”she has summoned together an amazing array of talent on one day in the service of one hope; a better future for the people of Haiti.”


The event will take place at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh on Sunday 28th February 2010 6.00pm – 8.00pm.  Tickets are £15 or £10 and available from the Queens Hall Box Office on http://www.thequeenshall.net or 0131 668 2019.  All participants have generously given their time in order that the proceeds from ticket sales and donations can be passed onto Mercy Corps for the Haiti Earthquake Emergency Appeal.


Ron Butlin                Gillian Clarke            Robert Crawford
Imtiaz Dharkar             Carol Ann Duffy          Douglas Dunn
John Glenday            Rody Gorman             Alasdair Gray
Andrew Greig            WN Herbert             Jackie Kay
Kathleen Jamie             Frances Leviston         Liz Lochhead
Aonghas Macneacail         Sean O’Brien             Don Paterson