Blog

Office Hours at the SPL – June 2nd 4pm-6pm

May 29, 2009

ryanbottle

If anyone would like to have a sit-down in the Scottish Poetry Library with me – I have my regular office hours on Tuesday the 2nd of June. I’ll be in the poetry library from 4 – 6 and will be available to talk about poems, poetry, the library, future events, They Might Be Giants, writing or whatever. Please just pop by if you fancy a chat or a browse through the aisles with a little help from me.

For your diary: I’ll be in the SPL from 4 – 6 on the first Tuesday of every month so feel free to come down for a chat and biscuits.

Martin McKenna on the poem “Un Coup de Des”

May 21, 2009

martin500The artist, Martin McKenna discusses the classic poem, “Un Coup de Des” (“A Throw of the Dice”) by Stéphane Mallarmé in the SPL‘s Reading Room.

Golden Hour Tour Featured on drownedinsound.com!

May 18, 2009

The Golden Hour performs on the ferry to Amsterdam

The Golden Hour performs on the ferry to Amsterdam

Exciting news! Part one of the Golden Hour Tour diary by Jason Morton and Ericka Duffy is featured on the music and arts website Drowned in Sound! The article documents our travels through Amsterdam and Berlin as far as the Shakespeare and Co. bookshop in Paris, with the upcoming second part following our journey home. It also features a whole bunch of video footage and music from all the performers.

If you weren’t there — you can pretend you were. And if you were there — you can remember the magic.

The Golden  Hour Tour was supported by The Scottish Arts Council. Thanks!

Arts Council Logo

The Reel Iraq Festival comes to the Golden Hour!

May 13, 2009

goldenhouriraqThis month the Golden Hour is proud to play host to the Reel Iraq Festival, featuring some of Iraq’s most prominent authors and poets, with a few local favourites thrown in for good measure. Come along for a chance to hear some of the best work in modern Iraqi literature!

When: Wednesday May 2oth, 8pm

Where: The Forest, 3 Bristo Place

Cost: FREE

Booze: BYOB

Reading:

Sinan Antoon – Poet, Novelist and filmmaker whose novel I’Jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody was hailed as “a novel par excellence.”

Hussain al-Mozany - Short stories from the effervescent novelist and journalist.

Betool Khedairi – Born in Baghdad to an Iraqi father and Scottish mother. Her first novel, A Sky So Close, had been translated into English, Italian, French and Dutch and is worthy of study.

Saadi Youssef – Late 20th century Iraqi literature has been marked by writers such as Saadi Youssef whose poetry has been immensely popular since he started writing at the age of 17. He has published thirty-two collections, a volume of short stories, two novels, several essays, and four volumes of his collected works.

Jane Flett – With her new chapbook!

Music:

Les Enfant Bastard – The brilliant bastard will entertain or destroy you alternating between woeful anti-folk and sonic assault played on home-made noise makers.

The Tuberians – Sounds of distant lands!

Rob Hearne – guitar originals. Sounds you will like to hear.

Nothing But The Poem – 21st May – FREE!

reg_poet2Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss a poem. Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan van Winkle.

Where: Edinburgh Central Library

When: 6pm on  May 21st.

How Much: Free Free Free!

What is it?
* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge.
There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

Reel Iraq Festival – Reading at MacDonald Library

writers-banner1

Just a reminder that the Reel Iraq Festival will be coming to the MacDonald Road Library, where some of Iraq’s best writers will be putting on an amazing free show. This is a fantastic opportunity to hear their work in person, so come on over to MacDonald Road in Leith on May 19th at 5.30pm!

Sinan Antoon – Poet, Novelist and filmmaker whose novel I’Jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody was hailed as “a novel par excellence.”

Hussain al-Mozany - Short stories from the effervescent novelist and journalist.

Betool Khedairi – Born in Baghdad to an Iraqi father and Scottish mother. Her first novel, A Sky So Close, had been translated into English, Italian, French and Dutch and is worthy of study.

Saadi Youssef – Late 20th century Iraqi literature has been marked by writers such as Saadi Youssef whose poetry has been immensely popular since he started writing at the age of 17. He has published thirty-two collections, a volume of short stories, two novels, several essays, and four volumes of his collected works.

Poetry is for Reading Part Two: Poems for Spring

May 8, 2009

flowersPoetry is for Reading pt. 2: Poems for Spring. Clearing by Wendell Berry

Yes, it is Spring time. The sun is out and I have a splinter in my index finger from helping to weed a friend’s garden. With the sun on our necks and the promise of tomatoes, sweet peas, and yellow carrots (yes, yellow carrots!) sprouting in our brains we chatted about this and that, you know, the usual things: The G20, herbs that work with white fish and poetry, specifically about the garden poems of Emily Dickinson.

Now, try to forgive my ignorance, but I’d never realized that Dickinson was an avid gardener and I certainly never figured she might be more known during her life as a gardener than as a poet. However, the internet argues that this is the case and there is even a book about Dickinson and her relationship with her garden from the less argumentative Harvard University Press. If you need some kind of proof, I found this delightful poem called In the Garden.

Anyway, all of this got me thinking about a book I recently read cover to cover – Clearing by Wendell Berry. “None of us,” says Berry, “can in a true sense own land. We can only hold it in trust.” While I wouldn’t want to quote this line to someone who has gone through a foreclosure, I admit as someone who owns nothing that there’s a simple beauty to this notion.

Indeed, there is a philosophy growing in these poems and they offer a gentle direction for a way we may strive to live our lives. This slim and readable volume even begins with a quote from the I Ching: “what has been spoiled through man’s fault can be made good again through man’s work”. From there Berry describes in a plain-voiced poetic prose the land he and his wife hold and saved from ecological disaster via hard work. Listen:

Vision


If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it…
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides…
The river will run
clear, as we will never know it…
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields…
Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its reality.

Published by Harcourt, 1977

Find the book, tend the garden you hold dear, taste the dirt under your nails. I’m going to go find a pair of tweezers.

spikeyborder