Poetry Army in St Andrew Square July 8th

June 30, 2009


Poetry Army assemble! From 12 noon til 2pm on Wednesday the 8th July, myself and friends we will be in the Scottish poetry gardens giving out our favourite poems and enjoying the blistering Scottish summertime.

Also featuring a free Poetry Postcard & Poster Making workshop.

* We’ll provide the words (a la magnetic poetry) and help you screen print your own original poetry poster or post card. Our Screen Printing Expert will be on hand to help you make everything look beautiful.

Come join us for poems and banter!

Call for Submissions – TWEE

June 25, 2009


Deadline: 30 August 2009

An open call to comic artists and illustrators.

Forest Publications seeks work from artists who combine words and images in various ways.

Our latest anthology is an imaginary encyclopaedia: a compendium of knowledge that is true, half-true, false, absurd or very confusing. A reader will come away from this book intrigued, amazed, mystified, puzzled, perplexed, bewildered, bemused and befuddled but not necessarily informed.

Your entry should explain something. It can be a piece of disinformation, speculation or thorough nonsense. It could be about how a tractor works, what heart burn really is, an explanation of long-distance running or zen. Facts are fine but, for this project, they are not the ultimate point. We’re looking for unique points of view on a wide-range of objects and ideas.

Technical specs:

You can submit multipage strips, spreads or single-page images in colour or black and white. The format of the book will be 245mm x 168mm (portrait) with a bleed of 3mm past the edge of the page on all sides. If your image needs to reach the edge of the page, don’t put anything important in the bleed zone where it will get chopped off. If you intend to do a spread, please keep important things away from the centre of the image as there will be a deep gutter. (These specs aside, if you already have finished work in a different format, we might be able to fit it in anyway.)

Submissions should be emailed as low resolution jpegs (make sure that any text is readable, though) to thiswillexplain@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Write ‘Submission’ in the subject line. Alternatively, you can send us a good quality photocopy by regular mail. The address is: Magda Boreysza at Forest Publications, 3 Bristo Place, Edinburgh EH1 1EY, United Kingdom. If your piece is selected we will ask you to send a high quality image file.

Deadline: 30 August 2009

* See more details here.

Poetry is for Reading Part Three: “The Father” by Sharon Olds

oldsPoetry is for Reading pt. 3: The Father, Sharon Olds.

I keep dipping into this beautiful book about the death of Olds’ father. The poems are strikingly realistic and honest and have a universal quality to them. I love how Olds manages to capture all the moments of dying – of physical touching, memory and history – into her poems. The book, of course, risks becoming a home-movie or a sugar-coated ode to a loved one. However, Olds is defiant and original in her voice and it makes for an incredible, gut-churning read.

As I was reading the book I kept drifting back to my grandfather’s body lying in hospital and waiting to die. I recalled his shrunken form and how the spit crusted to his dry lips. I remember looking at him, remember words spoken between short breath and I wondered how impossible it might be to speak or write this, this passing. The days in the hospital just seemed so singularly personal and tragic that a poem either felt like it wasn’t big enough or felt massively too big, too weighty for what was essentially a simple thing, a natural and ultimate thing. I remember thinking, “I must remember this.”

If you have ever lost a loved one – this is a book to wrap yourself in again and again. The Father gave me some time with my own beloved and deceased. Like all great books, The Father is a little door that let’s you go some place you don’t normally go. I was grateful for the door.

The Mortal One

Three months after he lies dead, that
long yellow narrow body,
not like Christ but like one of his saints,
the naked ones in the paintings whose bodies are
done in gilt, all knees and raw ribs,
the ones who died of nettles, bile, the
one who died roasted over a slow fire—
three months later I take the pot of
tulip bulbs out of the closet
and set it on the table and take off the foil hood.
The shoots stand up like young green pencils,
and there in the room is the comfortable smell of rot,
the bulb that did not make it, marked with
ridges like an elephant’s notched foot,
I walk down the hall as if I were moving through the
long stem of the tulip toward the closed sheath.
In the kitchen I throw a palmful of peppercorns into the
as if I would grow a black tree from the soup,
I throw out the rotten chicken part,
glad again that we burned my father
before one single bloom of mold could
grow up
out of him,
maybe it had begun in his bowels but we burned his
the way you burn the long blue
scarf of the dead, and all their clothing,
cleansing with fire. How fast time goes
now that I’m happy, now that I know how to
think of his dead body every day
without shock, almost without grief,
to take it into each part of the day the
way a loom parts the vertical threads,
half to the left half to the right like the Red Sea and you
throw the shuttle through with the warp-thread
attached to the feet, that small gold figure of my father—
how often I saw him in paintings and did not know him,
the tiny naked dead one in the corner,
the mortal one.

Published by Knopf.

Nothing But the Poem at the SPL!

June 24, 2009


Fancy a poetry chat? Come along to Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems.

Where: Scottish Poetry Library, Crichtons Close.

When: 6.30pm on July 7th.

How Much:  £5/£3

call us on 0131 557 2876 to book your place.

Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle.

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.

There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

Nothing But the Poem at the SPL June 23

June 23, 2009


Fancy a poetry chat? Come along to Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems.

Where: Scottish Poetry Library, Crichtons Close.

When: 6.30pm on June 23rd.

How Much: Free Free Free!

Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle.

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.

There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

New Classic Poem in the SPL Reading Room!

June 19, 2009

lerwick500Edinburgh-raised, future middle-aged librarian Anna Gibson discusses Scottishness and Norman MacCaig’s poem “Aunt Julia”. Read her mind here.

Ryan to Speak at Cambridge University – June 19.

June 17, 2009

America Week at Cambridge University: Will there be hotdogs?

America Week at Cambridge University: Will there be hotdogs?

I’ve been invited to speak at an event at Cambridge University. The event, I Hear America singing: an American Poetic Revue, is part of America Week at Clare Hall and features myself and the poet Tamar Yoseloff talking about and reading works from some of our favourite contemporary American poets. There will also be free American Wine!(But will there be hot dogs?)

The Event is Friday June 19th and starts at 8pm.

For those interested but unable to make it here is the list of poets & poems ‘ll be talking about. Most of these poems / poets can be found at the Scottish Poetry Library. Do come see me at my office hours on July 7th from 4 – 6pm if you want to find out more about the following poets / poems.

Here they are in no particular order:

* Marita Garin, Huskies

* Charles Bukowski, Trouble

* Etheridge Knight, Feeling Fucked Up (from his selected works)

* Robert Pinsky, The Want Bone

* CK Williams, Insight (from The Forward Book of Poetry 1998)

* Mark Doty, Where You Are (from Sweet Machine)

* Tom Sleigh, Newsreel (from Far Side of the Earth)

* Michael Burkard, Tooth (from Unsleeping)

* Wendell Berry, The Inlet (from Given)

*Joy Harjo, We Must Call A Meeting (from In Mad Love and War)

* Cornelius Eady, I Know (I’m Losing You)(from You Don’t Miss Your Water)

* Raymond Carver, Locking Yourself Out, Then Trying to Get Back In (from All of Us)

* Sharon Olds, The Glass, (from The Father)

* Hayden Carruth, The Quality of Wine (from Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey)

Oxfam/SPL Event at St Andrews Square on 18th June

June 16, 2009

standrewsIf you’re in the poetry garden in St Andrews Square at lunchtime on Thursday the 18th and feel like listening to some poetry, then my goodness you are in luck! Oxfam Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library are holding an afternoon reading on the subject of home, as part of Refugee Week (15th-22nd June). Bring your favourite poem about what home means to you, write a few words on the spot, or add your words to those written by members of The Welcoming, a project to welcome newcomers to Scotland.

St Andrews Square will be displaying a collection of poems about home and homecoming from Friday 12th through to Monday 29th of June.

HOT Golden Hour Summer Line-up!!

June 14, 2009

goldhourjuneWe’ve got AMAZING Golden Hours planned for June and July with a spectacular August Extravaganza. There will be reading, drinking and dancing! Have a look. You will not call me a liar.

What: The Golden Hour
Where: The Forest – 3 Bristo Place
When: June 17, July 22nd, august 19th; 8pm
How Much: Free
Booze: BYOB (please pay corkage)

June 17th

Emily Ballou: The good poet launches her new book The Darwin Poems.


Lauren Pope: Poems. Sass. More Poems.

Dave Coates & Fiona Morrison releasing new chapbooks.

St. Jude’s Infirmary – a rare acoustic set. A deep treat for the ears.

Sarah J Tingle: little songs on a little guitar.

White Heath: a blend of space-rock and tribal noise


Visual Rubbish:

More Cartoons from Mr. Dan Meth

July 22nd

Kei Miller – An excellent reader of depth whose book, There is an Anger That Moves, is one moving collection. (recomended reading for Homecoming Scotland)

Niki Andrikopoulou  – All the way from Greece with fine new words.

Russell Jones releasing his  new Chapbook of sci-fi poems.


Gary Stewart – upbeat folk-music is relaxed, unpretentious and well-played.


Half Sisters – joyus songs to fall in love with.


Meursault – starry-eyed electronica with cotton-picking wreaths of banjo plucks and ukulele strums.


Visual Rubbish:

More Cartoons from Mr. Dan Meth

the-paper-cinema-kora-weekendAugust 19th — The Festival Special

Readers / Writers:

Jen Hadfield – a remarkably original and inventive poet who recently won the TS Eliot prize.

Ryan Van Winkle – poems & stories from the Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library.

Nick Holdstock – short stories which grow inside you like golden crocuses.

Ericka Duffy – hot new prose from her hot new chapbook called The Succubus!

Benjamin Morris – Poetry and life lessons from the number one gentleman.

Jason Morton – stories that can eat bricks.


Jane Flett – seamstress of most fetching stories.

Music / Song Writers:

Billy Liar – Acoustic + infectious punk.

Jed Milroy – singer songwriter and hunter finally back from the Woods.

Withered Hand – intense, eccentric, bittersweet and very wry original songs.


Jonny Berliner – Joyus songs about crustacaens, exhaustion, and gluecose.


The Black Diamond Express – a rocking, hell-playing, old time string band.

Visual Amazement:

Paper Cinema and Kora

A cast of hand-drawn marionettes are magically brought to life. This is what happens at the accidental meeting of inkblots, photocopies, cardboard, angle-poise lamps, the occasional table, video technology, a laptop and a banana box.

The Cat’s Gravity by Jane Flett

June 9, 2009

Forest Publications is proud to present a beautiful new chapbook from Jane Flett.

The Cat's Gravity by Jane Flett

The Cat's Gravity by Jane Flett

The Cats’ Gravity is a love story with a cast of subway cars, skinned knees, bitten lips and glitter.  Published alongside a selection of poetry and with original artwork by Tom Moore.

Here’s a sample:

“Suddenly you realise that if you could dare to hold eye contact, you could begin anything. There are entire subways packed with people with whom that is all it would take; catch their eye and hold it tight in your fists, keep it. Once you have it they will follow you anywhere, perhaps leap head-first into clouds that smell of burnt hair and insanity, that curdle like plastic in flames. Can you feel the incredible surge of opportunities, multiplying ferocious and exponential like amoebas? Little wonder you cannot move: you cast your eye downward to books and metro guides, and blush. You realise in an hour you could be anywhere, in the midst of anything. This is so tempting to set in motion, like spitting off bridges or spilling of secrets, you want to shove things into the path of gravity and watch them fall, inexorably; splat.”

Available to buy from the Forest Café (3 Bristo Place) and Word Power Books (43-45 West Nicholson Street), and online at, all for a bargainous £2!

Isbn: 978 0 9556456 6 2