Kevin Mclean

Kevin Mclean is a Loud Poet and spoken word artist based in Edinburgh. In 2014 Kevin was a finalist at the BBC Fringe Slam and he won the 2015 Glasgow Slam Championship. He competed in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Scottish National Slam Championships and  captained Team Edinburgh at the 2015 Intercity Slam. His poem ‘Evelyn’, performed at the 2015 Loud Poets Edinburgh Fringe show, won StAnza's Best Poem of the Fringe. Beyond slams and organising regular Loud Poets events, he has been featured at the Wickerman Festival; StAnza – Scotland’s Poetry Festival; the Brighton, Edinburgh, and Prague Fringes festivals; Leicester's Find The Right Words; STV's The Late Show; BBC Radio Scotland’s Culture Show; and many regular spoken word nights throughout Scotland.

Photo: (c) Perry Jonsson


Make it Loud! »

Workshop with spoken word artists Kevin Mclean & Katie Ailes

Sun 5 March | 13:00 - 15:30 | FREE | The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Upstairs Foyer

Collective Poetry Reading »

Join us for a moment of solidarity in our collective reading

Sat 4 March | 18:55 - 19:05 | FREE | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Level 2 Foyer



People don't want to burn candles any more.
They're tired of scratching wax up off the floor
and trying to mould it into something
Can't find the strength or summon the breath to blow away the light so
            they let it drip,
they watch it fall from the wick and sit,
            transfixed, as each tiny stick
                        consumes itself
            in flame.

They have forgotten the beauty of the basics.

I still dream of hand-written letters and daisy chains,
of hop-scotch lines blurred by summer rains
and ships sailed safe by a lighthouse candle’s blaze.

Today we kill them simply to mark the passage of a year
            and hope
                        that twirls
            of smoke
                        that float
            like ghosts
will make our wildest dreams come true.

I’m not sure if my wish is worth the damage it would do.

It’s so sad to see something stripped
            of the purpose it once had,
reduced to little more than a novelty act.

In darker days it was they
            who would keep the monsters at bay
and help us find our way
            in a world turned to black.

But this harsh world has lost patience for soft light.
Why burn wax to illuminate a single page
when the whole world is a stage
and everyone must see me dance?

So now we save them for moments of romance,
those quiet times when we can take the chance to remember
            the turning of a page
            can be a beautiful thing.

And that candles will play music with which we all can sing,
no dull hum of electric lamplight’s orange glow.

So I'll watch candles burn
and dream of a world
that still turns


Kevin Mclean