The Highlander Podcast 2

January 27, 2010

Skye. Photo by Ishbel McFarlane

“I was struck by the great sadness of this landscape” – Mark O. Goodwin

The latest installment of the SPL Poetry Podcast. Have a listen and let us know what you think. Here’s the blurb!

Ryan managed to squeeze in a goodly few chats during his recent trip with our Lilias to northern climes and this episode, the second in our ‘Highland Trilogy’, features a fascinating conversation with Gaelic poet Maoilios Caimbeul and English poet Mark O Goodwin. Their recent collection, The Two Sides of the Pass (Two Ravens Press, 2009), is a conversation in poems across two languages and the landscape of the Isle of Skye. Presented by Ryan van Winkle. Produced by Colin Fraser. Incidental music by Ewen Maclean.

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Poetry Surgery with Ryan

January 26, 2010


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 February. 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 — 2 February and 2 March — so feel free to come down for a chat and biscuits!

I See a Red Door –

January 25, 2010

Hi all –

It is almost time for the big super art blow-out Hidden Door at the Roxy. I’ll be doing my first ever poetry installation titled: “Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel” featuring a soundtrack by Ragland, poems by myself and artwork from Martin McKenna, Eric Brooks, Michael Sanzone and Victor Fraser.

red - poster small

Ragland did the above poster and is coming over in a few moments to burn the cds we’ll have available over the weekend! How exciting you you / us / everyone!

We hope to see you at Hidden Door on Sat. 30th or Sun 31st January. It will be an historic Edinburgh weekend.

More details on my performance here.

Naughty Bedtime Stories

January 19, 2010

bedtime_cover Introduction

The Forest Book of Bedtime Stories was born in the hours which follow meetings, the hours of liquor and suggestiveness. The hours in which, under a thick cloak of Cockborn’s Reserve Port, we question what it is to be literary: whether we are not, perhaps, suited to something a little more upfront, a little more base.

There is a tendency among some of us to lean more towards the horizontal than the historic, particularly as the slump of winter comes upon us and we draw the curtains closed. As such, we requested from our friends they crawl into the filthier recesses of their imaginations and dredge up something which would tickle our fancies. This year, our Christmas present to you is some things we hope will warm your heart and get you out of your stockings.

What lies inside are tales that hang in the tricky balance of smut. These are not the cheap titillation of your newsprint-stained fingers working over Page 3. They are not content to hint, to nudge, to snicker behind palms at what is going on. We come to you honestly and say: this is what we think about.

Please: take your desires in hand and indulge…

I’m happy to have two kind of sexxxy poems in this fine anthology. One involves sex with Italian food and one is, essentially, an ode to a stranger’s bum. There’s also other great stuff including Ben Morris’ “Sextina”, stories about vampires (everyone loves vampires) and doing it with octopuses. A perfect coffee-table book or Valentine’s Day gift for that special someone. Let us know how you get on. xxl, R

Paperback: 44 pages
Published: 18 December 2009
Author: Multiple Authors (see below)
Genre: Mixed (Fiction, Poetry, Art)
Illustrations: Tom de Freston
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0956338846
Amount: £2 + P&P

Deep Inside:

  • Jason Harrison Morton, Sauchiehall
  • Ryan Van Winkle, Ode to Food, The Hand of God (aka: The Ass Poem)
  • Jane Flett, Tako
  • Ian Cartland, Intruders
  • Danielle Mantia, Twins
  • Helen Mort, White Hart
  • Benjamin Morris, Sextina
  • Kiran Millwood-Hargrave, Art Lover
  • Kirsty Logan, The Last 3600 Seconds

Golden January!

January 18, 2010




January 20th, 2010
Forest Cafe, 3 Bristo Pl
Free! Free! Free! (byob)


Kirstin Innes – The story-charmer!

Alan Bissett – The ring-leader!

Colin McGuire – pedestrian, provocateur, wanderer, confronter of shadows!


Mat Riviere – Electric repetition, loops that don’t stay in time, and self-Harmonizing.

The Maple Leaves – A massive aural hug.

Skeleton Bob – Songs about Glasgow that sound like they’re about America; songs about girls who did them wrong/proud. The long-awaited, rarely seen in Edinburgh floor-stampers!

The Golden Hour on Ten Tracks

January 16, 2010

One of my favourite music sites is the fantastically diverse, brilliantly local and artist-driven site: For just £10 a year you get 120 great songs which you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere. The bonus is, all the artists involved get a fair percentage of the profits — a much better deal then they get using i-tunes (boo, hiss!). So, if you are feeling guilty about illegally “stealing” music from .torrent sites, pay your dues to the artists who need the money and support TenTracks by taking out a subscription.

With all this in mind, it is a great pleasure to say that you can now buy ten of the eighteen tracks from our Golden Hour Vol. II CD on the TenTracks website including new material from Diddley Squat, Chandra, Mat Riviere, Robin Grey and The Asazi Space Funk Explosion! You can buy the tracks for ONE QUID or take out a full subscription for £10! It really is a bargain and a delight to get all this great music so even if you own the GH Books – do take out a subscription.

Here’s what they say:

“The Police Box proudly presents its pick of tunes from the acclaimed new writing and music publication by Edinburgh’s Forest Cafe. A quid says this is genuinely stereotype-busting quality”

And while I am on the plug:

You get a free TenTracks bundle when you buy tickets to the massive Hidden Door Art Festival at the Roxy on 30 / 31 January. You can read about what I’ll be doing here. I’m super keen to see Action Group, Jesus H Foxx, Foxgang, Joe Acheson Quartet, Panda Su, and William Douglas live. Basically, every great band in Edinbrugh and Glasgow is going to be playing this thing – it’s worth the money to be there.

It is practically guaranteed to be an amazing weekend of music, art installations, poetry and dancing so buy your tickets now.

Tickets NOW ON SALE at Tickets Scotland, Ripping Records, Leith School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art at the SRC.


FREE with each ticket: 10 mp3 music tracks by bands playing at the festival from Tentracks, plus video trailer of artists work with music by Jesus H. Foxx.

Instructions on how to get your free music and video on:

To be honest, the ticket stuff is a bit confusing but here’s an understandable break-down:poster hidden door email

There are tickets for 4 different time slots: afternoon (1 – 8 pm) or evening (6 – 12 pm), Saturday or Sunday @ £10 per slot (there are different bands playing at different slots so a look at the full programme on will help you decide.)
OR for 1 week only: 2 tickets for the price of 1, if bought off an contributor (me) so we can sell tickets to our pals, (tickets online etc, will still be same price, £10 each). SO, I can sell you two tickets for any of the sessions for £10
OR there’s a 50% discount for anyone buying tickets for extra slots, anytime. So you can buy tickets for all of Saturday
OR all of Sunday for £15 per person
OR £25 per person for the whole weekend, which means you can dip in and out for the whole weekend! (obviously the 2 for 1 doesn’t apply to this deal)
I know this all sounds a bit confusing, but basically you need to decide when you would like to be in on the action! As there are events, installations over 3 floors, the stage for the bands, food from the lovely Suzie’s Diner and a bar, there’s plenty to keep you amused and occupied for hours!

Look at the event on facebook and sign up!

I hope to see you there, here and everywhere.



Happy New Podcast!

January 15, 2010

Just before our holidays got started in December, Lilias Fraser and I traveled to the Great North, visiting SPL branch libraries in Inverness and Skye. It was a beautiful trip and we got to meet some brilliant poets working up in the Highlands. So, here is the first of the Highland Podcasts featuring the intrepid, poet, novelist, screenwriter Hamish MacDonald. Hamish helps run Moniack Mhor which is a splendid writers’ retreat up near Inverness. It is isolated and lovely and filled to the gills with excellent literature and fantastic workshops and seminars. They’ve always been very good to The Golden Hour crew so if you are looking for a beautiful place to go and work on some writing, you should check them out. Enjoy the podcast!


Download the mp3!

And Please remember to subscribe with I-Tunes or using the RSS Feed. Man, it is FREE!

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In our first podcast of the year Ryan presents the first of his
interviews from a recent trip to the Scottish Highlands, and he starts
the ball rolling with poet, novelist and playwright Hamish Macdonald,
director of creative writing centre Moniack Mhor. We also have a
haunting track from Shelia K Cameron, “Last NIght I Dreamed About
Doris Lessing”. Presented by Ryan van Winkle. Produced by Colin
Fraser. Incidental music by Ewen Maclean.

Open the Door

January 12, 2010

I’ve been invited to take part in this massive 2 day art / music extravaganza at The Roxy in Edinburgh.

Check the Hidden Door site for details on everyone who is participating but, for my part, I’ll be doing an intimate poetry performance which will involve music from Ragland, hot tea (or port), biscuits and a live, one-on-one reading.

I am not going to try and describe what the performance will involve but it will take about 15 minutes and it will be unlike any other poetry reading you’ve ever been to.

That’s not to say it will be good — but it will be different. There will also be artwork, so you don’t have to look directly at me all the time.

Here’s the details on the rest of the Hidden Door experience. Do buy tickets now, there is going to be loads of amazing art and performances. The band list alone should have you psyched to come along. Pretty much everyone you know / everyone you want to know will be there. How can you not go?

Hidden Door is a new venture aimed at bringing together innovative artists from all disciplines to create an exciting multi-sensory snapshot and celebration of the incredible creativity in the arts going on across Edinburgh and Scotland, all around us, under one roof for a whole weekend in January.

Tickets cost £10 and you can get them HERE. If you buy them online the lovely people at have offered up 10 free MP3 downloads! Sweet deal and well worth it just for the music. Check it out!

Jan 30 & 31st at The Roxy Art House!

Ryan Reading in Aberdeen!

January 11, 2010

Hi – I’ve been invited to read at the legendary Dead Good Poets in Aberdeen at the end of January. Hopefully, I can live up to the billing. Here’s all the details. Do come if you can or – you know – tell your friends to come down. I will try not to disappoint!

Dead Good |Poets welcome RyanVan Winkle. Books and Beans, Belmont St, Aberdeen – 6.30 – 8pm.

Thursday, 28th.January. With  Grant Fraser – plus Open Mic.

Ryan Van Winkle is currently the Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh City Libraries. He runs a monthly “Literary Cabaret” called The Golden Hour and is an Editor at Forest Publications. He lives in Edinburgh but was born and spent most of his life in America.

This event is sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust

See also:

Grant Fraser

Grant Fraser is an experimental poet and film-maker. Published in Granite and Gravel (Aberdeen, 2008) he was one of the poets featured in last May’s Wordfringe.He is a regular and exciting performer at Books and Beans. This is an opportunity to hear a more substantial selection of his work.

File Under: Better Than a Kick in the Teeth

January 9, 2010

A couple of days ago I got this seemingly cryptic e-mail from Mr. Benjamin Morris. A fellow editor at Forest Publications, poet, cocktail guru and all-round gentleman. Under the subject “Just heard the news” he wrote:

“pulling for you with everything i got. fingers crossed man. bones shaken. lambs slaughtered. bringing the bull in now.”

It is probably a testament to my upbringing or my permanently negative state of mind that my first thought was, “My God, I’m dying. I’ve got cancer and somehow only Ben Morris knows.” If you know Ben, perhaps this doesn”t seem too illogical. I do expect that when the bad time comes I’ll get a similar message from the Bellini-supping son-of-a-gun.

Turns out — I’ve been short-listed for Salt Publishing’s 2009 Crashaw Prize. Which, as it goes, is a lot better than cancer and a whole hell of a lot better than whatever I’d begun to expect from annus Two Million and Ten.

Out of the 12 finalists, four will get a collection published from Salt. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this was some kind of poetry holy grail.

From here, it is truly a treat to be short-listed and I sincerely wish the other poets the best of luck. I’m sure Salt will select a varied and deserving four poets and I’m positive they have some hard decisions to make. Frankly, I wouldn’t like to do it.

If you are interested, last year Salt published one of the most intriguing collections of poems I’ve seen in a while. Juan Gelman’s “The Poems of Sidney West” is  reminiscent of the brilliant Pessoa whose beautiful, haunting Book of Disquiet I currently have on my bedside table.

Anyway, Juan Gelman’s “The Poems of Sidney West” is a fantastically meta-read. Here’s the little blurb:

This translation offers to English readers for the first time the splendid verse of imaginary American author Sidney West, created by Juan Gelman, one of the greatest living poets of the Hispanic world. These laments question Western assumptions surrounding death, erase boundaries between poetry and narrative, privilege the magical as a vital aspect of reality and seek the transformation of the lyric persona.”

Seriously, I’m flattered to be on the same website as something so cool. You can read samples and more about Gelman’s book here.

Now, I’m going to let my mouth off my trumpet.