Blog

Commiserate June 2016 – Peter Mackay and JL Williams

June 29, 2016

In the run up to a visit to Canada to read in various events at Le 17e Festival de la poésie de Montréal, Peter Mackay, Ryan Van Winkle and JL Williams decided to write a collaborative poem that they could share at the festival. As it turned out, they didn’t have time to read the poem in Montreal so thought it would be nice to share it online… especially in light of recent political events. They hope it conveys some sense of the way language and poetry attempts to cross personal and linguistic barriers, challenge conventional meanings and encourage us to think about the world in new ways.

 

***

O Scotland My Canada

A cold wind blows from the north, snow this sunshine day
and a wolf howling in the air above the castle.

And a wolf cloud can break your heart. So, why not
just go back to sleep? The castle closed her eyes

years ago & no longer worries about the bubonic plague,
the hairless breasts of Putin. All this waxing

and waning. Throw-away newspapers scuffle
along old-town, new-town streets, leaving their print.

Throw away fire & kindling, throw rock
so it skims & leaps past the drowsy swans

swooning in the odd heat. Me, I like to keep my feet
moving below the surface, cold as can be, blue

as the wolf’s eyes and her tender paws
padding the spine of a frozen river

so cold the skin of the eye freezes, the heart’s
beat slows, the ears open to chimes and iron

I miss confident church bells, the persistent rise of 8 AM
And Wolf misses the proud trees which have been felled

sent down river, to the bay and shaped into boats
old trunks in new forms at aimed a new world

somewhere nova, somewhere neuve, somewhere ùr

where I first sang O Canada my Canada,
O Scotland my Scotland, O world without borders

whose places are beginnings for everyone,
whose forests are homes for all wolves,

whose stones speak all languages quietly, quietly
beneath the running of water.

***

 

bar_1JL Williams‘ books include Condition of Fire (Shearsman, 2011), Locust and Marlin (Shearsman, 2014), the triptych collection Our Real Red Selves (Vagabond Poets, 2015) and House of the Tragic Poet (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016).  She was selected for the 2015 Jerwood Opera Writing Programme, plays in the band Opul and is Programme Manager at the Scottish Poetry Library. http://www.jlwilliamspoetry.co.uk

unnamed

 

 

Pàdraig MacAoidh (Peter Mackay) is originally from the Isle of Lewis, but now lives in Edinburgh. He writes in Scottish Gaelic and English and has written one full collection of poems,  Gu Leòr / Galore, published by Acair in 2105, and a pamphlet, From Another Island, published by Clutag Press in 2010. He is also a broadcaster and lecturer; he teaches at the University of St Andrews and is BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker 2015.

Ryan in Montréal for un Soirée Québec-Écosse

May 19, 2016

I’ll be performing at the Festival de la Poésie de Montréal with a cohort of Edinburgh-based pals — Jennifer Williams (accompanied by James Iremonger), Rachel McCrum and Peter Mackay, alongside Québecois poets Stéphane Despatie, Ian Ferrier, Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, Jonathan Lamy and Samuel Mercier.

It’s happening at 9pm on Thursday 2 June at Maison des écrivains (3492, avenue Laval, Montréal). If you’re in the Montréal environs, it’d be awesome to see you there.

Ryan is at Simmer, a night of poetry and flavour

March 3, 2016

Later this month I’ll be hosting a really cool event, Simmer, a night of great food and awesome poets at Edinburgh Food Studio. On Thursday 31 March, 7.30pm I’ll be hosting a show with poets Tessa Berring, Peter Mackay, MacGillivray and Vicki Feaver, pairing poets and food for your delectation. Hope to see you there.

Join us at Edinburgh Food Studio for a unique collaboration between food & poetry. 

On this very special night, we will use flavour, scent, and colour in response to some of Scotland’s most distinct voices. A delicious evening which will touch all of your senses.

Hosted by Connecticut born, Edinburgh resident Ryan Van Winkle, ‘Simmer’ pairs four poets with dishes carefully selected & prepared to illuminate and echo their work. Readings will be from Tessa Berring a poet and visual artist, Peter Mackay who writes evocatively in English and Gaelic, MacGillivray a performance artist, and Vicki Feaver shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and winner of the Forward prize for best single poem.

Poets

Tessa Berring is an Edinburgh based artist. Exhibitions include ‘Making an Appearance’, Patriothall Gallery, and ‘Mutated Stars’ at Whitespace Gallery, with Paulina Sandberg. Her work emerges from an exploration of the appearance/phenomenology of objects and often includes a written or performed poetic element. A number of her poems are published in both print and on­line journals including Magma, and the Berlin based, Leopardskin and Limes. A recent review describes Tessa Berring’s work as ”simultaneously humorous and unsettling. It subverts with credible untruths, unties what it seems to sew up, attracts and disgusts.”

Read Tessa’s poem ‘Whale

*Vicki Feaver is the author of three poetry collections: Close Relatives (Secker, 1981); The Handless Maiden (Cape, 1994), winner of the Heinemann Award and shortlisted for the Whitebread Prize; and The Book of Blood (Cape, 2006), shortlisted for the 2006 Costa Poetry Award and the Forward Prize. Her poem ‘Judith’ won the Forward Prize for the best single poem. In 1993 she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship and in 1999 a Cholmondeley Award. She is a Professor Emerita at Chichester University where she previously taught creative writing. She now lives in Dunsyre in South Lanarkshire and Leith in Edinburgh.

Hear Vicki read ‘The Gun’ and her award­winning ‘Judith’ on the Poetry Archive.

*MacGillivray has walked in a straight line with a dead wolf on her shoulders through the back streets of Vegas into the Nevada desert, eaten broken chandelier glass in a derelict East German shopping mall, headbanged in gold medieval stocks in Birmingham allotments, burnt on a sunbed wearing conquistador armour in Edinburgh’s underground city, breast­fed a Highland swan in Oxford and regurgitated red roses in Greenland. She remains clan chief.

See MacGillivray perform here and find more of her work online here.

*Pàdraig MacAoidh (Peter Mackay) is originally from the Isle of Lewis, but now lives in Edinburgh. He writes in Scottish Gaelic and English and has written one full collection of poems,

Gu Leòr / Galore, published by Acair in 2105, and a pamphlet, From Another Island, published by Clutag Press in 2010. He is also a broadcaster and lecturer; he teaches at the University of St Andrews and is BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker 2015. Hear him read selections of his work in Gaelic and English on Lyrikline.

The price for this one-off colourful collaboration of dinner and poetry is £35. To book email book@edinburghfoodstudio.co or call 0131 258 0758.

Scottish Poetry Library Podcast: VERSschmuggel

November 6, 2014

This episode was recorded as part of the VERSschmuggel project at the Poesie festival in Berlin this year. The aim of this cross-cultural collaboration was to pair Scottish and German language poets together to produce “cover versions” of each other’s poems, where you can hear the original but you also appreciate the new voice too. As organiser Aurelie Maurin says of the process it shows how “it’s possible to have two tongues in the mouth of one poem.” Featuring Don Paterson, J.O. Morgan, Katharina Schultens, Peter Mackay, Dagmara Kraus, Björn Kuhligk, Odile Kennel, Michael Donhauser, Anna Crowe and Ryan Van Winkle. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser http://www.culturelaser.com

Ryan in Berlin for VERSschmuggel

June 4, 2014

Very pleased to be heading to Berlin with some very talented Scottish poets for VERSschmuggel, as part of the Literatur Werkstatt, Berlin. With Anna Crowe Scotland/UK – Odile Kennel Germany; Peter Mackay Scotland/UK – Dagmara Kraus Poland/Germany; Ryan Van Winkle USA –Björn Kuhligk Germany. Moderation: Aurélie Maurin editor, translator, Berlin.

The poesiefestival berlin invited some of Scotland’s most outstanding poets to meet up with German-speaking colleagues for the VERSschmuggel translation workshop.

The poets work in pairs on the translation, supported by intermediaries and interlinear translations. Through this process, an intensive smuggling of cultural connotations, poetic traditions, and compositional processes develops. The results of the workshops will be presented on two evenings. They also appear as a bilingual anthology with a CD in Scotland (with Freight Books) and in Germany (with the publishing house Das Wunderhorn). Part two of VERSschmuggel takes place on Wed 11.6.

Kindly supported by: British Council, Creative Scotland.

spikeyborder