I present a regular poetry podcast for the Scottish Poetry Library. The idea is simple — poetry is not just an academic, high-brow, esoteric, wanky medium for the middle-aged bourgeoisie. Yes, it is often turgid and unreadable. Most TV is turgid and unwatchable but I still tune in for Curb Your Enthusiasm. And, just like tv, jazz, ballet and comic books — poetry, I feel, helps us articulate and understand our emotional lives in an ever more confounding and complicated world. So, when I say, “I went to buy strawberries yesterday and had a Larry David moment with the shop keep” you understand. Similarly, when I eat a wild strawberry I think of Helen Dunmore or Edwin Morgan and how “There were never strawberries / like the ones we had / that sultry afternoon.”  New words, images, smells, stories and sounds are vital. We need these things to understand our own lives. Poetry helps. So does Daredevil, so does the modern art museum, so does Coltrane and Daniel Kitson. And with that in mind, I try to interview stand-up comics, musicians, total idiots, and people you might not expect to appreciate and enjoy the dark verse. We try to highlight interesting collections or great poems, to offer guidance to all those who think that poetry might have something to offer them but just don’t know where to start.

Start here.

These podcasts are produced by Colin Fraser and they wouldn’t be any good or even exist without him.

They comprise a seductive selection of interviews conducted by Ryan, poems, snippets of events and music. If you would like to send a question, suggestion or just a hello to Ryan or Colin, please drop us an email!

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Tom Pow Tom Pow talks to Ryan about his Dying Villages project, his imminent residency at the SPL, and various other projects…
StAnza 2010Some of the atmosphere at Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, StAnza, with comments from poets Jim Carruth, Karen Solie and Jay Bernard
Owen Sheers Ryan chats to poet and actor Owen Sheers about his ‘Poet’s Guide to Britain’ series for BBC TV, and about his early career…