Ken Cockburn

Ken Cockburn is a poet and translator based in Edinburgh, who runs Edinburgh Poetry Tours, guided walks in the city’s Old Town. Recent publications include the collection Floating the Woods, and Heroines from Abroad, translations of German poet Christine Marendon.

Headshot of Ken Cockburn, looking to the side of the camera and smiling

Photo: Umar Timol


Poetry Walk: In a kingdom by the sea »

Encounter verse around town

Wed 4 March | 12:30 - 13:45 | FREE | British Golf Museum

the plastic debris of the oceans »

For Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters, local young people engaged through poetry with the large and diverse range of waste material found washed up on the beaches of the Forth. Installations in J & G Innes upstairs gallery and also at the Byre Theatre.

Wed 4 March - Sun 15 March | 09:00 - 22:00 | FREE | J & G Innes Ltd, Booksellers, South Street, Upstairs Gallery



we loved to watch the passing ships and make
guesses as to the ports they had come from
John Muir, ‘A Boyhood in Scotland’

a coracle of willow and skins beneath a changeable sky
a Roman flotilla edging north to Ultima Thule
a Viking longship breaking open the honied south
a Genoese galley blockading the castle
the Great Michael floating the woods of Fife
Sir Patrick Spens sailing the king’s guid schip
the widowed queen’s fleet arriving in thick mist
the brig Covenant of Dysart bound for the Carolinas
the clipper Isabella bringing tea into Leith
a herring-laden zulu tacking for Fisherrow
a U-boat periscope scanning the waves
the crude oil tanker Seadancer flying a flag of convenience


Ken Cockburn

From Floating the Woods (Luath, 2018)