August poetry round-up

Wednesday 16 August 2017, 12:21

August continues to be a hot month for poetry, regardless of whether or not the sun puts in an appearance. The Edinburgh International Book Festival has a very strong poetry programme this year and it's only about a third of the way through its run, so plenty left to see. Elsewhere in Edinburgh, there's lots of poetry on offer, someone said more than 80 shows, so a real embarrassment of poetry riches. Per our earlier post on this, we're happy to post listings or short reviews, so if you've seen something you really enjoyed, why not tell us. 

Meantime, looking slightly further ahead, the deadline is looming one week from now for the new poetry competition on the block, The Robert Graves Prize, which a prize fund of more than £1,000. The closing date is 23rd August so you're still time if you'd like to submit.

And later this month, Beyond Borders Scotland, an Edinburgh-based not-for-profit organisation dedicated to facilitating small-nation dialogue and cultural exchange, returns to Traquair House with their International Festival. Taking place on August 26th and 27th in the grounds of Scotland's oldest inhabited residence, the festival brings together politicians, cultural leaders, authors and artists from all
over the world to the Scottish Borders for a weekend of panel debates on a number of topical global and national issues. Confirmed speakers this year include Bettany Hughes, Nicola Sturgeon, Jim Naughtie, Valerie Plame Wilson, Christina Lamb, Bonnie Greer, William Dalrymple, Tina Brown, Steve Richards and many many more. Alongside the talks, the weekend festival also features literary walks,
meditation sessions and bike rides in the picturesque surrounding area.

This year also sees the introduction of Music and Arts in Traquair's beautiful Walled Garden. With interactive workshops, exhibitions, theatre, dance and film screenings in our tipi cinema, along with drop in yoga and meditation sessions in our yurt and performances from singers Barbara Dickson, Heidi Talbot and Reem Kelani, there's something for everyone in this year's programme. For full details and individual event timings please visit the Beyond Borders Scotland website.

Categories: News

StAnza's Edinburgh Fest Poetry List, 2017 (IV)

Friday 4 August 2017, 16:03

Five Poets at The Fruitmarket Gallery

featuring: Rachael Boast, Jane Bonnyman, Vahni Capildeo, Alan Gillis, Ira Lightman

The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF

Wednesday 16th August 2017, 7.15pm-9pm (doors open 7.15pm, readings begin sharp at 7.30pm)

Entry is free. Wine/Juice by the glass and books by readers will be on sale.

This annual August poetry feast at The Fruitmarket Gallery features five eclectic and unique poets, each of whom will read for 12-13 minutes and may include a poem in response to the Gallery’s current exhibition by fascinating Brazilian artist, Jac Leirner.

Facebook event page -


W N Herbert & Andy Jackson

EIBF Bosco Theatre (George Street)

Tue 15 Aug 12:30pm - 1:30pm

£12.00, £10.00

New Boots and Pantisocracies is a popular blog run by W N Herbert, Professor of Poetry at Newcastle University, and Andy Jackson, Medical Librarian of Dundee University. For 100 days after the 2015 general election, they published a poem each day on the new political landscape from voices as disparate as Sean O'Brien, Daljit Nagra, Polly Clark and George Szirtes.

Categories: News

StAnza's Edinburgh Fest Poetry List, 2017 (III)

Tuesday 1 August 2017, 12:06
  • (c) Helena Fornells

    EVENT: Polaris, written and performed by Hannah Raymond-Cox
  • LOCATION: Venue 366: 52 Canoes, Grassmarket (EH1 2AJ)
  • TIME/DATES: 2.45pm, 4th - 28th August (excluding Thursdays)
  • PRICES: free entry as part of the PBS Free Fringe
  • SUMMARY: Directed by award-winning poet Sophia Walker, POLARIS is a free trip around the world - a wry, heart-wrenching, darkly comedic, true story of growing up everywhere and fitting in nowhere. Writer and performer Hannah Raymond-Cox’s StAnza-award-winning slam style addresses mental health, queer culture, and the question of how to belong.
Categories: News

Poetry Events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, 12 - 28 August

Sunday 30 July 2017, 15:42

Every summer, the Edinburgh International Book Festival creates a magical tented village in the heart of Edinburgh, bringing together over 1000 authors from across the globe to share their words, ideas and inspirations. A vibrant festival for all lovers of the written and spoken word, this three week literary celebration is the largest of its kind in the world, with something for all ages and interests.

This year, once again, the Book Festival has a huge array of poetry events on offer – from classic verse to debut collections, nonsense rhymes for children to the latest spoken word stars, you’re guaranteed to find something you will enjoy. They have selected their pick of the top poetry events which they think will appeal to StAnza fans.

You can browse the full list of poetry events at the 2017 Book Festival here.
To book tickets, or find out more information, visit the Book Festival’s website: or call the Box Office on 0845 373 5888.

Top Poetry Events to Look Out For

1. Rachel McCrum & Miriam Nash
Sun 13 August at 6.30pm
Meet two outstanding Scottish poets with debut collections. Miriam Nash grew up on the Isle of Erraid (made famous by the lighthouse Stevensons) and voices of the island echo through All the Prayers in the House. Fans of popular poet and performer Rachel McCrum (formerly one half of spoken word duo Rally & Broad) will relish her bitingly satirical The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate. Buy Tickets

2. Carol Ann Duffy
Sun 13 August at 8.15pm
No Edinburgh International Book Festival would be complete without Carol Ann Duffy, Britain's Scotland-born Poet Laureate, whether reading her own incomparable work or – as here – that of poets from all over the world. Some of these will be from The Map and the Clock, the selection she edited with former Welsh National Poet Gillian Clarke. John Sampson provides musical accompaniment.
Buy Tickets

3. John Burnside
Thu 17 August at 12.15pm
One of the most acclaimed writers of his generation, poet, memoirist and novelist John Burnside treats you to two new works. The hugely praised Ashland & Vine is the beautifully woven tale of an unlikely friendship; Still Life with Feeding Snake is a poetry collection which hovers with great assurance on the brink of epiphany. Buy Tickets

4. Harry Baker
Sat 19 August at 5.30pm
Meet the man who is a World Poetry Slam Champion turned full-time poet via a maths degree. Following on from his debut collection, The Sunshine Kid, Harry Baker brings a selection of old favourites and brand new poems to the Book Festival this year. Performing with a mix of hope and humour, he has already won the hearts and minds of audiences all over the world.
Buy Tickets

5. Nick Laird & Don Paterson
Sun 20 August at 8.30pm
In The Zoo of the New, two of Britain’s best poets, Nick Laird and Don Paterson, cast an expert eye over 500 years of poetry, offering an anthology that speaks to our times. Drawn from across nations, from Sappho to Denise Riley, there are the well-known and well-loved, the forgotten and the new; poems that shout, cry and sing. Buy Tickets

6. Paul Muldoon
Thu 24 August at 3.45pm
The Times Literary Supplement called Paul Muldoon ‘the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War’, while Seamus Heaney believed him to be ‘one of the era's true originals’. The reason behind such praise can be found in abundance in his Selected Poems 1968-2014, a collection of 45 works which shows off both his intellectual playfulness as well as an emotional thrust. Meet a master of his craft. Buy Tickets Peter Mackay & Iain S Macpherson
Sat 26 August at 6.30pm
An Leabhar Liath/The Light Blue Book breaks the mould of anthologies of Gaelic verse. Going back 500 years, it shows that even before Ossian there has always been a strong tradition of erotic, bawdy or love poetry. Editors Peter Mackay and Iain S Macpherson have made sure to include English translations alongside the Gaelic. Prepare to be shocked!
Buy Tickets

8. Simon Armitage
Sun 27 August at 7.15pm
Poetry is never going to be mainstream, says Simon Armitage; it should be what it already is, an unbiddable, highly personal artform of dissent. This may be true, but there’s no denying the Yorkshire poet’s own popularity – which the wit and lyricism underpinning his new collection, The Unaccompanied, is only going to boost even further.
Buy Tickets

Live Poetry Lab
This year, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is tasking five resident poets to create poems in response to your memories of the festivals in Edinburgh since they began 70 years ago – including your treasured Book Festival memories.
You can see the poets crafting their poems at the Live Poetry Lab which takes place daily at 11am to 2pm from 21-25 August in the new Greenhouse venue on George Street – no need for a ticket, it’s completely free! You can also watch their writing unfold live online:

The resident poets are:

Colin Herd (21 August)
Jane McKie (22 August)
Jennifer Williams (23 August)
Peter Mackay (24 August)
Ryan Van Winkle (25 August)

Share your Festival memories using #LivePoetryLab

Categories: News

StAnza's Edinburgh Fests Poetry Listings, 2017 (II)

Friday 28 July 2017, 14:23

StAnza’s Edinburgh Fests Poetry Listings, 2017 (II)

Loud Poets
Poets names: Kevin Mclean, Doug Garry, Catherine Wilson and Katie Ailes (plus special guests every night - see attached)

Venue: The Scottish Storytelling Cenre, Venue 30

Dates: 4-28th (except 14th and 21st), 9-10pm
Ticket price: £10 full price, £8 concession, £7.50 SSC members

This is fist-thumping, pint-drinking, side-tickling, heart-wrenching poetry. This is the spoken word revolution! Over the last three years, the award-winning Loud Poets have cemented their place as one of the top spoken word show at the Fringe. They return this year with a brand-new show filled with comedy, tragedy, politics and poignancy."


The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash

lyrics by poet Katie Hale & music by Stephen Hyde

Venue: C Royale (Fringe Venue 6)

Dates: 6pm, 2-28 August
Ticket price: £6.50-£10.50

When tragedy strikes, how do we process what has happened and move forward with our lives? The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash tells the story of three women trapped in the suffocating bell jar of contemporary London, after the main man in their lives is killed in a train crash.

Musical with an all-female cast and a contemporary jazz drumming score.


Greg Byron’s Slooshy Wordshow

Venue: Assembly Baillie Room

Dates: 3rd to 28th August

Having created multi-appearing West End hit 'Thunderbirds F.A.B', as well as numerous other productions, including last year’s Assembly shows ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE DAY THAT TIME FORGOT! and THE SIX-SIDED MAN, international Theatre producer/writer/performer Gavin Robertson has morphed into Spoken Word poet GREG BYRON for the Edinburgh Fringe, and shows in the USA in Autumn.

For more information, you can try or


Categories: News

StAnza's Edinburgh Fest Poetry List, 2017 (I)

Monday 24 July 2017, 21:10

As promised, we’re happy to list any poetry related events happening in Edinburgh in August, and here are first details sent to us. Do keep them coming, and once we get into August and everything kicks off, please do also send in your reviews, all to

Umbrellas of Edinburgh (Russell Jones, Claire Askew, Jane Yolen, Marjorie Lotfi Gill, Harry Giles and Finola Scott)

Venue : Bosco Theatre

Time and Dates: 17 August, 12:30-13:30

Ticket price/free: £12/£10

Get inspired to find new ways to explore Edinburgh with Claire Askew and Russell Jones, who have put together the anthology Umbrellas of Edinburgh. They will be joined by some of the book's contributors including Harry Giles, Marjorie Lotfi Gill, Jane Yolen and Finola Scott.


Event Horizon (sci-fi cabaret) at Unbound

Venue : Spiegel Tent

Time and Dates: 16 August, 21:00-23:00

Ticket price/free: Free

Edinburgh’s monthly live SF cabaret with a special show celebrating Ken MacLeod’s Guest Selected series of Book Festival events and featuring science fiction writers from the Festival plus a mix of poetry, songs, music, drama and art. Over 18s only.


Come Down the Mile – Edinburgh Poetry Tours (Ken Cockburn)

Venue 167, Outside the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DT

August 5–28 (not Thursdays & Fridays), 11.00 (12.30)

Tickets £10.00 (£5.00) – NB tickets for previews on 5 & 6 August are £6.00 (£4.00), and there is a 2-for-1 offer on 7 & 8 August.

Edinburgh has inspired writers for centuries. Join poet Ken Cockburn for a walk illustrated by poetry, shifting between parliament & palace, cemeteries & gardens, narrow streets & open parkland. Hear poems about Edinburgh by Robert Burns, Carolina Oliphant, the great Anon. & many more.

Categories: News
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