Poetry Surgery with Ryan

November 27, 2009


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 1st of December. I’ll be in the poetry library from 4 – 6 and will be available to talk about poems, poetry, the library, milk trombones, future events, workshops, David Hasselhoff, or Daredevil.

For your diary: I’ll be in the SPL from 4 – 6 on the first Tuesday of every month — 1 December & 2 February— so feel free to come down for a chat and biscuits!

Ryan in Glasgow – 1 December

I’ll be performing at the great Glasgow night – DiScOmBoBuLaTe imgp0332

where: The Arches, Glasgow

when: Tuesday, 1 December, 8pm (doors 7.30)

how much: £4/2

I was super happy to be invited to this reading as people have been telling me about it for ages. The word on the street is, the gig is super good and with folk like Alan Bissett and Jenny Soep involved, I believe The Word. Their website says, “where literature and comedy collide.” Sounds messy.

It should be good and I hope to see you there.


December 16 – The Golden Hour

November 26, 2009

* 16 December – The Holiday Golden Hour – An Amazing, Un-stoppable Event!!! Sure to be amazing. Do Not miss the Extravaganza!!! – 8pm. FREE

* The Forest, 3 Bristo Place


Rodge Glass – novelist, biographer, intellectual and teller of many a fine joke.

Anneliese Mackintosh – stories told so well you feel as if you lived them.

Jason Morton – unwraps his present.

Ben Lancaster – live via satellite from snowy Canada. What, oh
what, will he wear?


Forest Choir – they will unleash their full might upon you.

Jed Milroy & Hailey Beavis – New and traditional songs from
two of our best friends. Like Christmas morning all over again.

The Stormy Seas – place their brand of ‘aggressive folk’
under the GH tree. Featuring all the stuff you want — guitar, bass drums,
banjo, melodica, squeezebox, fiddle and Sea Shanties with a Punk

with Special Guest – Dirk Markham!

And if that isn’t enough, here’s a little video treat from The Golden Hour Tour in the Highlands. Featuring: Hailey Bevis, Jed Milroy, Billy Liar and Withered Hand!

Don’t say we never gave you anything.


Julia Boll – Vignettes from Below

November 25, 2009

Now available for a bargainous £2 is the ninth in a series of chapbooks printed by Forest Publications: a collection of short stories entitled, Vignettes from Below by Julia Boll. The lovely cover is from Rosie Etherington.

Here’s an excerpt:

“When the fires broke out, I was so high on endorphins I didn’t even notice the overwhelming stench of smoke. We had been sleeping on the roof of a warehouse, and Sean had woken me up by crawling into my sleeping bag and pushing up my shirt, his hair still smelling of the river, of oil and amphibian nightmares. But his hands were warm and insistent, and what he said was so filthy I momentarily forgot where we were.
So, yes. While the government set fire to its capital city, I was being fucked silly on top of the bonded store, on the brick layer over five storeys of wine barrels and coffee sacks, in the small hours of a particularly cold November night. Thus, I already felt light-headed and short of breath before the carbon monoxide made me dizzy. Then, the nausea set in.” Read more!

Product details

  • Title: Vol.1 Iss.10 ‘Vignettes from Below’
  • Author: Julia Boll
  • Pamphlet: 16 pages
  • Publisher: Forest Publications (18 Nov 2009)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956338846
  • Amount: £2


Poetry Days in Fountainbridge!

November 24, 2009

From Tuesday the 24th of November, Fountainbridge Library will be my poetic home away from home.

Starting with a Meet Ryan Session on Tuesday, I’ll be semi-based in Fountainbridge hosting free poetic events and workshops! The month will feature reading poems aloud, going poetry writing and setting up a display with my favourite poetry books. You can come and meet your Reader in Residence and chat about the books on off on Tuesday 24 November from 14.00. It should be a brilliant month 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!

FBpoetry month events

Meet Your Reader in Residence

Tuesday, 24 November 14.00 – 16.00

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.

Carry a Poem

Monday, 30 November 14.00

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.

Nothing But the Poem

Monday, 14 December 18.30

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.

Poetry Workshop – Forms

Wednesday, 6 January 18.30

A special Nothing but the Poem with a creative writing slant. We’ll be looking at a few poetic forms (and non-forms) and doing a few writing exercises to get the words flowing.


Thurs. 14 January 15.45 pm

A poetry afternoon for kids with writing games and activities!

Free Poetry Workshop – 2 December!!!

November 23, 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 2 December.

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.

Bluegrass on the new SPL Podcast

One of the nicest things about hosting, performing and touring with the Golden Hour is that I occasionally get to collaborate with great musicians. So, on this podcast I share with you one of my favourites – Jed Milroy and I performing Bluegrass. In the podcast I explain a bit about where the poem comes from but here are some more interesting facts.

* I recorded the vocal part sitting in Jed Milroy’s loo.

* I never lived with anyone named Tuna. The name is an oblique reference to the horrendous Johnny Depp film, Blow. At some point the overweight character named Tuna wanders into the ocean as a solemn Johnny Depp says, “Nobody knows where Tuna went” or something like that. At the time, we found it very funny and it managed to sneak into the poem.

* The poem wouldn’t have been written if I didn’t live with an amazing bunch of people in a huge house in Ithaca during the Summer of 2001. This experiment in communal living was revolutionary but not in the naive way we all expected. Hammocks and skinny-dipping in waterfalls, table football, music and artistic endeavours were all around us. Living closely with a dozen artists and activists changed my life and, in a way, has guided me to this day. We made some mistakes, and we were young enough to believe we could change the world in some way. Then 9/11 happened, the house broke up and the world really did change. This is what we looked like:


* The poem wouldn’t have been written if Jed Milroy, Jack Richold, Andy McKay, and Ian Stoddart didn’t play magnificent bluegrass music every week for a while at The Jazz Bar on Chambers Street. Hearing songs like Wagon Wheel and Loudon Wainwright’s Swimming Song brought me back to America and returned me to the friends I lived with. Thank you Greenman Bluegrass Boys!

Anyway, that’s all a lot of preamble. Here’s the blurb from the SPL site. Let us know how you enjoy the podcast.

Emily Ballou & Bluegrass

“I felt a Funeral, in my Brain…”

Ryan catches up with American/Australian poet Emily Ballou just before her event at the SPL. They discuss what it’s like to be a poet abroad, the influences on her work and her recent collection, The Darwin Poems. We’re also treated to ‘Bluegrass’, a poem by Ryan, with musical accompaniment by Jed Milroy.

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Please subscribe to the pod-cast.

And here is the surreal world of Aaron’s Magic Pants!


All New Podcast

November 17, 2009

Based on the presumption that you are still not yet sick of my voice – we offer you another free poetry podcast. Please subscribe via i-tunes or rss, give us a rating if you have the time, or just drop Colin and I a line to say “knock it off” or “keep it up.” Thanks again to everyone who has been writing in.You know who you are and, yes, your gifts are in the post.

Below is the official blurb:

Julia Bird, Andrew Philip & GPS

“There are a few poets I carry with me in my head. Poetic DNA, I suppose…”

In this week’s episode Ryan tells us about the Global Poetry System project he’s been helping organise and how you can take part in it. He
also catches up with poet Andrew Philip who discusses the poem that he carries with him, his views on poetry and reads us a poem from his recent collection The Ambulance Box.

Making his debut in front of the microphone, Colin speaks with another Salt Publishing poet, Julia Bird, and discusses her live literature tour “You Are Here” that takes poetry into theatres in England.  Presented by Ryan van Winkle.
Produced by Colin Fraser. Incidental music by Ewen Maclean. For feedback, mail

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Listen now…

Or download as MP3.

SPL Podcast goes to Shetland

November 11, 2009


Hi! The Scottish Poetry Library has a great new pod-cast for you all. This week we have the amazing, prize-winning, Jen Hadfield reading one of her poems and a Shetlandic poem set to music by Lise Sinclair. You can listen below, or subscribe via i-tunes or RSS. (It’s FREE!)

If you’d like to comment on anything from our past pod-casts or if you’d just like to say hello to Ryan and Colin, please drop us a line to

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Listen now…

The Golden Hour Goes Glasgow!

November 10, 2009

Well, kind of. We’ll be performing at Newton Mearns Library just outside of the city. If you are nearby – come along.

The Golden Hour visits Mearns Library, East Renfrewshire!


November 20, 2009

Mearns Library,
Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, G77 6EZ


With readings from:

Ryan Van Winkle – Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library

and Music by:

Jed Milroy – The bluegrass boy!

Burnt Island –  Short stories set to music for late nights and early mornings,
with Rodge Glass, a guitar player better known for writing books.


The Oran Social – ambient folk-rock

And even if you can’t

come you can STILL

buy the Golden Hour Book!


The Golden Hour Book Vol. 2