National Poetry Day: mixed messages

“And their message – in printed cards and performance poetry – is that both poetry and libraries matter.” On how Glasgow Libraries and the Big Issue – and countless others – celebrate(d) National Poetry Day.

Poetry with a European twist in Portree

“For when it comes down to it, this, for me, is what it is all about. Hope for the future – as long as mountains stand and rivers run – lies in our interconnectedness. Across islands, countries, continents and generations.” Skye poetry prompts a human affirmation across continents.

Seize the day

Kathleen Jamie – you can listen to one of Scotland’s premier poets here – asks how many glorious May dawns she’s slept through as Spring bursts upon us and we head for the polls…

Kert-wheeling alleluias

Never mind the meaning, sense the soundscape: dipping into the newly published Best Scottish Poems 2015, Fay Young gives up herself up to the rich world of sound via Edinburgh’s Shetlandic makar, Christine De Luca.

There viewed from here

Gordon Munro reviews two poetry books challenging a west-centric view of love, life, war and exile. Here is his invitation to Take Tea with the Taliban and, by the way, Don’t Forget the Couscous.

Och Aye n Aye

The national poets of Scotland and Jamaica, Burns and Marley, shared a passionate concern for the oppressed – and a host of other attributes as well as children born to many mothers. We pay tribute here to the work of the two Roberts – and their common genius.

Poetry helps us face facts of life … and death

David Bowie always accepted that life was finite but called death “a drag”. By the time he released his last album and accompanying video he knew death was imminent. Poetry helps us live with that truth we all face.

Home thoughts by homeless young people

We think of the poor and vulnerable, especially those on the streets or in refugee camps, at this season. The Rock Trust does this all year round for the young homeless in Scotland’s capital city. Here a couple of young people say in poetry what home and, maybe, hope mean for them.

Sunset song for winter solstice

Even in the turbulent days of global warming the Winter Solstice is a turning point towards the light. Poets, as here George Mackay Brown, celebrate “the pale sun” and fire and ice as “we push the old year back against the wall” (Johnny Cunningham) and look to the Spring.