Free Don Paterson Reading – Cool

February 27, 2010

First, the bad news:

Don Paterson on Shakespeare’s Sonnets at the SPL is Sold Out.

Now, the amazingly good news!

Free Don Paterson Reading on 10 March – 6pm

On 10th March, poet Don Paterson, Scottish poet, writer and jazz musician will be reading from his work at the University of Edinburgh.  Don, who has collected all the major UK awards for his work, was made an OBE in the 2008 Birthday Honours List and this year was awarded the (rarely bestowed) Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.  Don is Picador’s poetry editor and also teaches in the School of English at St. Andrews.  This free event will take place at 6pm in the Appleton Tower, Lecture Theatre 1.(11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9LE.)

Isn’t that nice? Here’s Don  swinging at Edinburgh Library: part of “Words and Music of Cool America”.


And an amazing poem, read by Mr. Don himself. A teaser:


Golden 24 March!

February 24, 2010


March 24th, 2010
Forest Cafe, 3 Bristo Pl
Free! Free! Free! (byob)


Kona MacPhee – with her brand new collection!

Lawrie Clapton – rocks the chapbooks!

Jenny Lindsay – poetry gets the slam.


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

Sam and Mike – they might have a tune.

Billy Liar – his machine kills fascists.

Put on your listenin’ hats and dancin’ shoes!

Poets for Haiti

Poets for Haiti

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Sunday 28 February, 6pm

The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, is to lead a once-in-a lifetime line-up of award winning Scottish and UK poets in Edinburgh to raise funds for the Haiti earthquake disaster appeal.

A gathering of the foremost poets in the land are coming together for an unforgettable evening of the finest poetry for the most urgent of causes.The event was inspired by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and Don Paterson, who next month will receive the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Poets reading on the night include such major literary figures as Alasdair Gray, Douglas Dunn, Jackie Kay, Kathleen Jamie and Sean O’Brien (the only writer to take the UK’s top two poetry awards – the Forward Prize and T S Eliot Prize – in the same year); as well as four UK poets laureate – Liz Lochhead (Glasgow), Ron Butlin (Edinburgh), Gillian Clarke (Wales) and Carol Ann Duffy.

Carol Ann Duffy said “Poetry has the power of prayer and is the place in language where we are most human. The people of Haiti need our humanity right now.”

Don Paterson said: “We’ve been completely overwhelmed with the speed and generosity of our colleagues’ response – it should all add up to the most spectacular poetry event ever seen north of the border, and we hope as many people as possible will come along and show their support.”

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has given his full support to the event, describing Carol Ann Duffy as a “visionary humanitarian” and saying “she has summoned together an amazing array of talent on one day in the service of one hope; a better future for the people of Haiti.”

The evening will be a fitting finale to the hugely successful and popular Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Carry A Poem campaign, run in collaboration with the Scottish Poetry Library, which is highlighting the power of poetry in people’s lives – in schools, communities, projected onto buildings in the capital and more.

The event will take place at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh on Sunday 28th February, 6.00pm – 8.00pm. Tickets are £15 or £10 and available from the Queens Hall Box Office on or 0131 668 2019. All participants have generously given their time in order that the proceeds from ticket sales and donations can be passed onto Mercy Corps for the Haiti Earthquake Emergency Appeal.

Words Define the Music

February 23, 2010

Two New Poetry Podcasts – Subscribe Now!

Here are my two latest podcasts from the Scottish Poetry Library. Please subscribe (for FREE!) and enjoy at your leisure.

Ron Butlin

“Poetry tends to be argued through image, prose tends to be argued through narrative …”

Ryan sits down with Edinburgh’s Makar (poet laureate) Ron Butlin during a recent visit to a slightly noisier than usual Library (apologies for the melody of the office stapler) and discusses where his poems come from, the differences between writing poetry and prose, and what it’s like to write for musicians – of the popular and operatic variety. We also get the chance to hear a few poems from Ron and listen to an excerpt from the short opera ‘The Voice Inside’ by composer Lyell Cresswell for which Ron wrote the libretto.

Presented by Ryan van Winkle. Produced by Colin Fraser. Incidental music by Ewen Maclean. Mail: Twitter: @byleaveswelive and @carryapoem

Subscribe with ITunes

Or subscribe without iTunes (RSS)Listen now…

Or download as MP3

White Heath

“In poetry the words define their own music and that’s why I get a kick out of writing…”

Alastair White and Sean Watson from Edinburgh based band White Heath chat music, metal, poetry and their Carry A Poem picks with our very own Ryan and we get a chance to hear their track ‘Election Day’. And if that’s not enough, we treat you to a sample of this week’s Poetry Pub Quiz and offer a special prize – email to enter.

Presented by Ryan van Winkle. Produced by Colin Fraser. Incidental music by Ewen Maclean. Mail: Twitter: @byleaveswelive, @carryapoem and @anonpoetry

Subscribe with ITunes

Or subscribe without iTunes (RSS)

Listen now…

Or download as MP3

The Golden Hour – Feb. 17 2010

February 10, 2010



February 17th, 2010
Forest Cafe, 3 Bristo Pl
Free! Free! Free! (byob)


Claire Askew – editor, poet, dragon slayer, jewellery maker, teacher.

Ewan Morrison – we bus Mr. Trouble in from Glasgow to kick over a few tables and tell some stories.

Tom Pow – even if his name wasn’t Tom POW we’d still use an exclamation mark to describe him!


Gary Stewart – exhilarating and masterful songwriting.

Diddley Squat – last time we counted they were a massive 12 piece regaee band. We think they’re growing.

Robin Grey Band – In a small white room with a blue door they create gently experimental nu-folk. you will like.

And don’t forget to check out our interview with Alan Bisset:

There is a double-bill of two of his plays, The Ching Room and the Moira Monologues, at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow from 9th-13th Feb. Bissett himself will be starring as ‘Moira’. He also helps with the splendid reading series, Discombobulate (where literature and comedy collide) in Glasgow. Alan read at The Golden Hour in January 2010.

Poetry Podcasts – Collect ‘Em All

February 9, 2010

Hello! It has been busy days so there’s two podcasts I need to hype up. If you haven’t done so already, please subscribe via I-tunes or RSS feed that way you won’t miss an episode and won’t have to wait for me to post the links. Enjoy!

John Glenday & Kim Edgar

“I went out to the hazel wood,/ Because a fire was in my head”

In the final part of our Highland trilogy, Ryan chats with John Glenday about what it’s like to be a drug counsellor and a poet, which poem he carries with him and we get an opportunity to hear John read from new collection, Grain (Picador). We also have the track ‘Nothing to Hold Onto’ by Kim Edgar, which was a response to a work by John during the 7 Short Sails project. Presented by Ryan van Winkle. Produced by Colin Fraser. Incidental music by Ewen Maclean.

Email Ryan and Colin with your comments:

Subscribe with ITunes

Or subscribe without iTunes (RSS)

Listen now…

Or download as MP3

Carry a Poem Special

“It’s one those poems that’s just stuck. I can’t really explain why…”

Colin heads down to the launch of the 2010 One City One Edinburgh literature campaign, which is focusing this year on the poems we carry with us and includes a free anthology of poems called Carry A Poem, being distributed for free across the city.

Including snippets from poet Ken Cockburn, Edinburgh makar Ron Butlin, literary editor Stuart Kelly, Children’s Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival Sara Grady and charming couple Mark and Alena Fraser. Ryan also asks Colin what his Carry A Poem choices would be. Presented by Ryan van Winkle.

Email Ryan and Colin with your comments:

Subscribe with ITunes

Or subscribe without iTunes (RSS)

Listen now…

Or download as MP3

Poetry Daze in Portobello!

February 8, 2010

From Tuesday the 16th of February, Portobello Library will be my poetic home away from home.

Starting with a Meet Ryan Session on Tuesday, I’ll be semi-based in Portobello hosting free poetic events and workshops! The month will also highlight the City of Lit’s Carry a Poem campaign, featuring LOADS OF FREE BOOKS and a display with my favourite poetry collection. You can come and meet your Reader in Residence and chat on Tuesday 16 February from 14.00. It should be a brilliant month so come along to any of the TOTALLY FREE events mentioned below or feel free to pop into the library and see what excellent poetry books are on offer!

PORTOpoetry month events

Meet Your Reader in Residence

Tu. 16 Feb. – 14. – 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.

Nothing But the Poem

Tue. 23 February – 18.30 – 20.00

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.

Carry a Poem

Fri. 5 March – 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. Free books will  be available from The City of Literature! Come and get your copy.

Poetry Workshop – Forms

Tue. 9 March – 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.

Poetry Month also features a unique poetry display of our favourite and most accessible collections.