Darkness on the Edge of Toast in the APR

September 26, 2009

File Under: Better than a Punch in the Neck

Darkness on the Edge of Toast, my often-read ode to Bruce Springsteen has been published this month in Sept/Oct issue of The American Poetry Review.The issue also features new work by Tom Sleigh, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Patrick Donnelly, Patrick Rosal, Joshua Beckman and others great poets. I particularly liked Thomas Sayers Ellis‘ poem The Judges of Craft.

The American Poetry Review has long been a favourite poetry magazine and I highly recommend a subscription. I, personally, find the work published in the APR to be consistently exciting — as in, when I pick up the APR, I always find a line or a form or an idea that stops me in my tracks, a poem which I have to read and re-read till my coffee goes cold. I am, of course, super pleased to be amongst such fine company.

The APR been publishing out of Philidelphia since 1972 and has included the work of over 1,500 writers, among whom there are nine Nobel Prize laureates and thirty-three Pulitzer Prize winners.

Please, do support the APR. You can’t read my poem on-line but subscriptions are reasonably priced for the quality of the magazine and, of course, if you don’t – who will?

If you’d like to come see me read –

I’ll be reading with the Shore Poets at The Lot in Edinburgh.

That’s Sunday September 27th, along side Ron Butlin & Christine De Luca.

There will also be music for two guitars played by Graham Cumberland and Paul Rogers.

The Lot,

4-6 Grassmarket, Edinburgh,

starting at 7.45pm and running for about two and a half hours.

Admission £4 (concessions £3).

The Global Poetry System is Live

September 25, 2009

The GPS is a nationwide project to find, map and share poetry in all its forms. The site is easy to use and filled with great poems, memories of poems and things that could be poems like poetical lines of graffiti. I’ll be leading a GPS poetry walk from the Stockbridge Library on 14 October, 2009 at 4pm. So, if you want to grab a camera and go on a poetry hunt with me, I’d love to have you. Also, if you are afraid of techno – I’ll help you upload to the site. I’ve been playing with it for the last couple of hours and not only is it easy to use, it actually looks cool and is fun to play with. Type your post code in and see what poetry is near to you!dscn0631

Here’s the official pitch from the GPS website:

“Poems are on pages, and on the stage. They might be a nursery rhyme your granny sang to you, or lyrics by a chart-topping rapper. Does a line of graffiti on the station wall make you think? Is it poetry? Riddles can be poems, and prayers can be poems. A three line haiku about an urban fox and a hundred-line ballad about maritime history are poems. There is poetry in football chants and street signs, family sayings and birthday cards. You just have to find it… and then share it via GPS.”

GPS is a Southbank Centre project in partnership with Academi, Apples & Snakes, Beverley Literature Festival, The Dylan Thomas Centre, Litfest, NALD GPS Ambassadors, Scottish Poetry Library and Verbal Arts Centre.

Ryan reading at The Shore Poets

September 24, 2009


I’ve been asked by the good Shore Poets people read some poems publicly. I’ve looked at the line-up and I am confident it won’t be a waste of your time or money.

A perfect literary excursion for a Sunday evening.

Please do come.

When: Sunday, 27 September. 7.45pm.
Where: The Lot, 4-6 Grassmarket, Edinburgh
How Much: Admission £4 (concessions £3).

And, while I’d appreciate you being there to check me out, you definitely do not want to miss the amazing Ron Butlin who delivers fantastic readings every time.

Energy, wit, warmth and humour.

Also, Christine De Luca is reading and I look forward to hearing her for the first time.
There will also be music for two guitars played by Graham Cumberland and Paul Rogers.
And the bar, of course, will be open.

Ron Butlin is currently Edinburgh’s Makar, an official working position more like the traditional bard than the ceremonial poet laureate. Ron’s originally from Dumfries, a background that remains present in award-winning books that include three novels, three collections of short stories, and six volumes of poetry, most recently Without a Backward Glance (Barzan Publishing, 2005).

Ryan Van Winkle is originally from the United States, and has stayed in Edinburgh since 1999. He is currently the Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh City Libraries. He runs the Golden Hour cabaret and is an Editor at Forest Publications.

Next month’s reading is on October 25th, when Shore Poet readers will be Robert Alan Jamieson, Nancy Somerville and Aiko Harman. Later in the season we have readings by Anne Frater, Jen Hadfield, Kei Miller, Mike Stocks and James Robertson. Visit the website diary page for updates as the amazing Shore Poets season progresses. You definately will want to see Aiko, Jen, Kei and Mike and if their quality is any indication – even the poets I don’t know will be worth seeing!

SPL Poetry Podcast ~ Episode 4

September 23, 2009

Beyond the Boundaries – Listen Here:

The Scottish Poetry Libraries’ brand new poetry podcast is up and eager to get into your ears.

Join me, Reader in Residence, as I discuss Blake’s ‘The Sick Rose’ with sculptor Michael Bowdidge; poet Robert Alan Jamieson reflects on his recent collection of poems Nort Atlantik Drift and shares an audio excerpt from his DVD of the same name and Edinburgh-based band Saint Jude’s Infirmary air their views on poetry, music and Scotland and play us the track ‘Tacoma Radar’ from the new album, This Has Been The Death Of Us, featuring Iain Rankin and new artwork from Jack Vettriano.

Subscribe via I-Tunes or by simply cutting and pasting this link into your download machine:

Big thanks to Colin Fraser at Anon magazine for podcast production.

Withered Hand Album Launch

September 22, 2009


Just a quick post to wish Withered Hand sex perfection, marital happiness and a brilliant LP launch on Wendesday the 23rd. Here are the details of the launch. If you are reading this, you shouldn’t think twice, you should go. Or, at least, find a way to get your hands on this amazing new album. You won’t regret it. You might even thank me. Here are the details:

Withered Hand’s first album, Good News (SL Records), is out NOW-ISH and will be launched via a big joyous party at LEITH DOCKERS CLUB on Wednesday September 23rd. Helping to make this event extra excellent will be some VERY SPECIAL MUSICAL GUESTS, so you should come as soon after 7pm as you possibly can!

Tickets to the magnificent Withered Hand Good News Launch Party cost £4 in advance from wegottickets ( or from Avalanche Records.

Leith Dockers is located on Academy Street in Leith ( It is easy to reach by bus or on foot or by bike, and the beverages are all VERY reasonably priced.

If you can’t make it down to Dockers on the 23rd, Withered Hand has kindly offered to play the Golden Hour CD Launch on Friday the 25th at the Forest. It should be a spectacular night — for details click here.

And here’s a song that wasn’t on Withered Hand’s first little EP. We heard it a bunch of times live on the Golden Hour Tour and it has been on repeat in my flat since I got the new CD. I may just be a sucker for songs that mention beards though:


Poetry Month at Stockbridge Library

From Tuesday the 22nd of September, the Stockbridge Library will be my poetic home away from home.

Starting Tuesday with a Meet the Reader in Residence event I’ll be semi-based down in Stockbridge hosting a bunch of poetic events and workshops! The month will feature reading poems aloud, going for a GPS poetry walk, and doing some casual reading and workshops. It should be a brilliant month and – the best thing is – Edinburgh Libraries is letting me bring along a bunch of my favourite poetry books for display! How cool is that? So, come along to any of the events mentioned below or feel free to pop into the library and see what excellent poetry books are on offer!


Tuesday Sept. 22, 15.00 – 16.30 – Meet Your Reader in Residence


Ryan Van Winkle is Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh City Libraries. He is also a working poet who’s work has appeared in Northwords

Now, New Writing Scotland and The American Poetry Review.

Monday Sept. 28, 19.00 – Nothing But The Poem

Fancy a poetry chat? Nothing But The Poem is a relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems. Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle. * 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.

Tuesday October 6, 15.00 – Carry a Poem

Do you have a favourite poem? Do you love hearing poems read aloud? Come to our poems aloud session where we’ll be sharing the poems we carry with us, in our hearts and even in our pockets. Bring any poem you’d like to hear and share and we’ll read a few from our roving poetry collection.

Wednesday October 14, 15.00 – Poetry Walk with G.P.S. — The Global Poetry Systemmessage

Poetry is all around us. It is in graffiti, carved into stone, in shop windows and parks. Ryan Van Winkle leads a poetry walk around Stockbridge on a quest for found poetry. Bring a digital camera and we’ll post our finds on the G.P.S. website. ( This event is in association with the Southbank Centre in London and is part of a nationwide project to map where poetry is found all over the country. Come put poetry on the map! Find it. Map it. Share it.

The Golden Hour – September Sweetness…

September 21, 2009


The Golden Hour celebrates it’s 3rd birthday with a calvalcade of words, music and visual rubbish all in a beautiful space.

Will you love it? Yes you will. Come for an hour, come for the whole night.

When: Wednesday, 23 September, 8pm

Where: The Forest, 3 Bristo Place

How Much: Always free.

Please – BYOB

Featuring new writing from:

Aiko Harman: Poems from the Dark Side

Elizabeth Gold: American Poet with new words.
Craig Bayne – The Glasgow wonder returns with his new chap book.

with Special Guest: Emma Bartholomew — new on the scene!

And amazing music from:

Action Group: sometime sad,sometimes fast and sometimes plain elated!

Marcie’s New Haircut: only describable as *oddly whimsical*

Jennifer Ewan: performs delicious songs of her own making.


And Don’t Forget – The Golden Hour Vol. II is being launched on Friday 25 Sept. with two great events –

* Book Launch with wines and words at Blackwell’s – 6.30pm

* Album Launch and party with champagne and dancing at Forest (byob for after) – 8.30 – LATE

* Golden Hour Book (and CD) Vol. II is on sale at —Blackwells, Word Power,, and The Forest Shop. If you can’t make the launch, do support us by buying a book / CD.

The Golden Hour Book and CD Launch – 25 Sept.

September 20, 2009


Forest Publications is proud to announce the launch of The Golden Hour Book (+ CD) Vol. II.

Help us celebrate the release of our anthology with free readings and wine at Blackwells at 6.30pm.

Then, join us for music and champagne till LATE at the Forest (remember to BYOB for when the free stuff runs out.)

Reading: (at Blackwells) 6.30

Alan Gillis

Julia Boll

Alan Jamieson

Andrew Philip

Aiko Harman.

Music: (Forest from 8.30)

Chandra – her brand of fire folk fit the start the kettle.ghb_album

Massive Mellow – danceable, mellow groves, from the massive players.

Poor Edward – beautifully crafted songs and a guitar that can sound like a cello, a seagull, an elephant… anything you want.

Withered Hand – the wit-full, wistfull, sweet son-of-a-bitch. Who has a brand new album of his own y’all should buy.


Black Diamond Express – ‘are like the fastest train of the Lehigh Valley Railroad… a nine-piece band soaked in poetry, myth and bourbon.’ says Mark Edmundson of The Listt.

A launch to beat all book launches!

Come for one / come for both!

Books are available from Blackwells, Word Power,, and The Forest Shop. If you can’t make the launch, do support us by buying a book / CD.

But – you want to know –

“Is the Golden Hour Book Suitable for You?”

If you enjoy words, the answer is ‘yes’. If you enjoy sounds, the answer is ‘yes’. Even if you have not answered ‘yes’, the answer is still ‘yes’. For ‘The Golden Hour Book Volume II’ is not just a book: it is also a natural resource that may save your life. Its pages will burn without being consumed. It keeps tigers away. The accompanying CD is equally essential: it can be used as a plate or better still, sharpened and thrown like a shuriken into the throat of your enemy. Even if the end approaches, there is still the consolation of the words and sounds within — fine poems, stories, and songs from over three dozen poets, writers and musicians — all of which are guaranteed to take your mind off things.

‘There is genuine wit, deep feeling and real entertainment in this most enjoyable volume. Light-hearted and serious by turns, ‘The Golden Hour Book Volume II’ contains some of the best and freshest new writing I have come across for quite a while.’
Ron Butlin, Edinburgh Makar

cover* City of Lit

* Facebook Book Launch

* Facebook CD Launch

* I like what Aiko Harman wrote about the book. Have a look at her blog.

Blackwell Bookshop
53-62 South Bridge

The Forest

3 Bristo Place


The Golden Hour Book (and CD) was funded by the Scottish Arts Council. Thank you!

Nothing But The Poem – FREE – Sept. 17, 2009

September 15, 2009


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

Where: Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge.

When: 6.30pm on September 17th.

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.

Poetry in the Poetry Gardens

September 14, 2009

A few months ago our actor friend, Jamie Gordon, asked if there were any poetry projects he could get involved in. At first we thought he could do some readings for our SPL poetry podcast but then we started to get excited about sending him out to the poetry gardens to recite poems directly to the public. Jamie won’t be alone though, there will be an SPL gazebo where you can browse some of our books, get some free poetry post cards and find out about our plans for National Poetry Day on October 8th.

So, on Wednesday 16 September the Scottish Poetry Library will be in the Poetry Gardens at St. Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh bringing poetry to the people.

Our orators will give you a choice of three poems — maybe you want a “classic”, maybe you want something funny, or perhaps you need a little love?

Join us any time from noon – 2pm.

It’s free!