Poetry at the EIBF

Tuesday 24 August 2010

The apocalyptic sounding rain on the roof of the tent did nothing to spoil last Saturday evening’s Poets’ Showcase at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The city itself, past and present, was a feature of the poetry. StAnza’s former Festival Director Brian Johnstone, recalled the Morningside of the Sixties and – ironically – the running of the last tram. Edinburgh’s Makar Ron Butlin charted the recent transformation of the old tenements into ‘glass and mirror palaces’. They were joined on stage by two vibrant new voices. Rob MacKenzie combined a strong sense of the absurd with subtle observations of Edinburgh street life in ‘White Noise’ and a sardonic, tourists’ coach-bound view in ‘Scotlands’. Jane McKie took us back to the country and the mysteries of the natural world, including farms, fighting hares and – something for the arachnophobes in the audience – the anatomy of spiders. All in all, a varied and evocative evening.