Thursday, 28 October 2010

Dundee Open Mic night at Drouthy Neebors - October 31st

Owen Pilgrim is putting together a night of spoken word at Drouthy Neebors in Dundee on October 31st from 9.30pm to midnight. If you are interested in performing - poetry, storytelling, singing (Owen promises a broad church) please contact him on 01738 730235 or via email at

Spirit of the Dighty - Dundee writers inspired on the Banks of the Burnie

A group of Dundee writers present 'Spirit of the Dighty' - original pieces by local writers performed along the Banks of the Burnie. There will be several 'performances' of this, as follows:-

Saturday 30 October:   3pm - 4.30pm
Sunday 31 October:   3pm - 4.30pm
Saturday 6 November:  3pm - 4.30pm
Sunday 7 November:   3pm - 4.30pm

Meet at 2.45pm in the car park at Mains Castle (Caird Park)
Tickets £5 (£3 concessions) and numbers are limited, so you are advised to 'book early to avoid disappointment'. Tickets available from Douglas Community Centre, Finmill Centre and Broughty Ferry Library - call Dighty Connect on 01382 436932 for more information.

2nd annual James Kirkup Poetry Competition

After a successful inaugural year, Red Squirrel Press host the second annual James Kirkup Memorial Poetry Competition. Details available from the Red Squirrel website here. Closing date is 31st December 2010, with judges Ian McMillan, Andrew McMillan and Kathleen Kenny. The first prize will be the publication of your poetry get writing now!

Sing A Sang O' Soutar

As part of the Perth 800 celebrations, the city will play host to a celebration of the poems of William Soutar on November 11th at the AK Bell Library. The event promises poetry, music and song to celebrate the life of Perth's most famous poetic son, starting at 7.30pm on Thursday 11th November 2010 in the Soutar Theatre within Perth's central library. Tickets cost £6 including refreshments - details can be found here.

Friday, 22 October 2010

WomenWords Books present 'Sunrise over Machu Picchu'

WomenWords Books of Carnoustie havev published a new anthology of poetry from across the world entitled 'Sunrise over Machu Picchu'. It's available for the special price of £5.00 each (cover price £6.99) plus £1 postagefrom Penny Ward, the person behind WomenWords.

Contact WomenWords at WomenWords, 28 Maule St, Carnoustie, DD7 7AP or email them at

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Andrew Philip at Dundee University

This is a bit last-minute, but Andrew will be reading tomorrow (20th October) at Dundee University, in the Dalhousie Building Room 2G14 from 1-2pm. Free!

Dundee Literary Festival - Poem and a Piece with Brian Johnstone

Brian Johnstone, distinguished poet, musical collaborator and former Director of the StAnza Festival, will be reading from The Book of Belongings at the Dundee Literary Festival. The reading takes place in the Bonar Hall on October 28th from 12.30 -1.30.  Tickets are available for £5 from the Literary Festival's online store here.

Other events at the Dundee Literary Festival include readings from Booker-longlisted Alan Warner, novelist James Robertson and Dr Finlay actor David Rintoul, with Norman Watson discussing the career and legacy of the singular Dundee poet William Topaz McGonagall. Details of the whole festival available here.

Tea with Maureen & Mae at Dundee Central Library

Join two of Dundee's best-known local authors Maureen Reynolds & Mae Stewart for afternoon tea at Dundee Central Library. The two writers will be discussing their work from 2.30pm on Thursday 18th November at the Steps Theatre within Dundee Central Library. Tickets are free, but booking is essential. To get one in advance call 01382 431500...

Monday, 11 October 2010

Cat And Mouse - a new play about the Perth Suffragettes (October 20th)

You are invited to a rehearsed reading of Cat And Mouse, a new play written by Perth's former Writer-in-Residence Ajay Close and performed by the Stellar Quines Theatre Company. A rehearsed reading gives a potential audience the chance to comment on the text and staging of a play, and gives a fascinating insight into the transition of a play from page to stage.

The reading will take place at the Soutar Theatre within the AK Bell Library in Perth on Wednesday 20th Ocober at 7.30pm. Entrance is free, but please be prepared to discuss and offer opinions on the play! Please contact if you wish to come.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Patchwork Poem for National Poetry Day 2010

Our project to produce a Patchwork Poem for National Poetry Day 2010 is now complete, and the poem is below. My thanks to all 43 respondents for submitting lines to go into the final poem - from established Scottish poets such as Sheila Templeton and Eleanor Livingstone to a group of schoolchildren from Aberdeenshire and attendees at an Adult Learning Centre on the West Coast. We also had submissions from south of the border and as far away as Germany, which proves that the written word cannot be constrained by boundaries.

The poem takes one line from each sunbmission to form the overall poem, which hopefully moulds independent lines into a coherent finished product. It was certainly a challenge, but ultimately an enjoyable one.

The poem is also available as an attractive download, including colour images of 'natural tartan' provided by Terri Turner, a photographer from Perth (the Western Australian Perth rather than the Scottish one) and sourced through Flickr. Our thanks to Terri for the free use of these images. The poem can be downloaded as a 2-page A4 version here or as a poster-sized A3 copy here.

Now, the poem itself....

I Sing Of Bricks

Sometimes, when a person asks my place of birth,
I'm looking at my watch, planning my exit
with every beat in my step,
just waiting for the right time,
until eventually it's now, and here I am again,
where love lies, where I feel safe,
a building where I explore within myself,
created out of homelessness.
A place to go when I need to rest my head,
where my dreams float,
my happiness blows like an ember,
my door at the twist of its key falls open.

Tonight the wind gnaws and stabs with icy daggers,
grinding us the same relentless grey.
The wardrobe yawns shut, the blinds droop heavy lids.
You're behind me in the room, busy with music,
a masterpiece waiting to be born,
the melody in a score. You linger in backgrounds,
happy, mostly; open, always,
your voice merry at the necessity of sheltering.

Sometimes, in the corner of my eye, I see it, still,
a cupboard under the stairs and one locked drawer,
an alchemy of yellowed photographs, family in a freckled time-lapse,
the room that came alive when a coal fire was lit,
a glowing oil lamp, a warming hearth, a spacious kitchen,
a spoon that pirouettes gracefully across a non-stick dance floor.
Bath, bubbles, books and a glass of wine,
the night our skins finally touched
where hats were laid on grandma's feather mattress,
my love's hands, cool as wood.
A snapshot of paradise,
the tree of life, embroidered by me,
a discovery, whose beauty is ingrained forever
and, through its grace, I am welcomed home.

My thoughts now shape what once shaped me,
fingers pointing to the coming, the going,
the all-embracing hug of it, the lights-down-low relax of it,
such beauty by day and peace by night.
It remains as elusive as a falling star,
defiant as weeds between the paving.
Here I've bidden aa these years.
I will never be here bodily again.
The van? Packed. The house? Empty,
but if you return you've never left.


Helen Addy
Lauren Boyle
India Bruckner
Hazel Buchan Cameron
June Cadden
Mark Carlisle
Di Chorley
Jen Cosgrove
Amy Devlin
Irene Ewen
Robinette Featherstone
Pascale Free
Anne Gerono
Eddie Gibbons
Sally Hood
Alissa Jones Nelson
Helen Lawrenson
Pippa Little
Eleanor Livingstone
Anastasia Lumsden
Anne Mackley
Roderick Manson
Lyn Moir
Wendy Jane Muzlanova
Lucy Neil
Stella Pierides
Ann Prescott
Heather Reid
Lydia Robb
Martin Rowbottom
Anna Ruddiman
Kirsteen Scott
Elizabeth F Sinclair
Elizabeth Taylor
Judith Taylor
Michael Taylor
Sheila Templeton
Fiona Thackeray
Jacqueline Thompson
Anji Topping
Deborah Trayhurn
Christie Williamson
Erik Zoha

Poem collated by Andy Jackson

Images reproduced by kind permission of  Terri Turner

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Fife Book Festival 2010

This takes place in the Rothes Halls Glenrothes from 10am-4pm this Saturday, 9th October. Poetry, prose, novels and non-fiction all represented, with readings from the likes of Rob MacKenzie, Ross Wilson, Ian Nimmo White, Andrew Ferguson, Maureen Sangster and others. And it's free!

Brilliant Poetry Night this Friday

Another reminder - this time for the poetry evening hosted by Brilliant Poetry at the Links Hotel in Montrose this Friday, 8th October from 8pm - headlining is Tim Turnbull, with support from a Calder Wood trio of Juliet Wilson, Anna Dickie and Morgan Downie. Entrance £5 at the door, tickets £4 in advance...

Soutar Writers Open Mic night

Hello all - quick reminder of the Open Mic night at the AK Bell Library cafe in Perth on this Saturday, 9th October. Music from Kenneth Steven and spoken word entertainment of the highest quality. 7.30pm kick-off...