‘How often are citizens actively included in the decision-making? For Haringey, read those parts of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and every other vibrant city that attracts the developers’ eye’. Fay Young on the key urban question: how can people reclaim the city landscape?
The power of words was the theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day. Gordon Munro reports on how Jewish poets/authors and others wrote about and recorded the (hidden) atrocities occurring in 1942 onwards and asks today’s governments to match fine words with the right deeds to prevent any repetition.
‘Revisiting the collection now, it carries a comforting message in a winter of rampaging flu, overcrowded hospitals, and political uncertainty about how to heal the health service. Love, life, birth and death – the great levellers. We are all ‘common, one of the flock’. (Happy new year!).’
This year’s Sceptical Scot poem for Christmas – so soon since the last one – is a poignantly, tenderly beautiful poem by Christine de Luca.
‘We need to recognise the bawdy sense of mischief that was common currency in the tradition before it was swept aside by the religious revival in the 19th century. In contrast to the shortbread tin image of Highland culture, this sheds vital light on the past and the present – as Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair would have it, breasts, pricks, warts and all’.
This is a good time for satirists, though there’s no clear line between farce and tragedy in the real life script written in the words of our political leaders. Fay Young samples poetry and music inspired by Trump, May and Brexit.
Kate Tough’s poetry stirs hearts and minds as Glasgow celebrates Slavery Remembrance Day 2017 with growing openness about the city’s link with the slave trade.
Jeremy Corbyn’s serene countenance during the election campaign drew frequent parallels with that of a Buddhist monk, Corbyn himself at one point referring to his efforts to attune himself to a Zen mindframe. But Corbyn’s unaffected homily at Glastonbury suggests a comparison with another spiritual archetype might be more appropriate.
‘Every minute of every day, twenty four people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution, terror. It’s at times like these that poets speak to us and ask us to reflect.’ Gordon Munro chooses poetry for Refugee Week
Two years ago the poet Tony Walsh wrote and performed We Are Manchester for the twentieth anniversary of the Manchester Arena. Poetry commissioned for a different occasion now takes on searing new significance.