Thursday, 28 February 2008

2008 Programme

Here's a programme for the Great Grog poetry readings in Edinburgh from now until February 2009. The 'and one other' entries don't represent a vacant space. I'm just waiting for confirmation from a couple of people. Some brilliant evenings of live poetry lie ahead, as you can no doubt see. I'll give more information on the individual poets in due time, but you can google most of them.

I hope that some readers of this blog will make it along to these events. I'm always pleased to hear from people who would like to read, by the way - email me if you're interested. I'm going to form a small committee to make the decisions on who reads after February (other than those few who have already been booked of course).

I've given links to the April 2008 poets. Tom Pow's home web page, Joy Hendry's Chapman web page (she is editor of Chapman, Scotland's top literary magazine), Margaret Christie's chapbook at HappenStance Press, and an astonishing interview with Elizabeth Gold from 2003, following her brief experience of teaching in a high school.

Sunday 13th April, 2008
Tom Pow
Joy Hendry
Margaret Christie
Elizabeth Gold

Sunday 8th June, 2008
Kapka Kassabova
Mike Stocks
Eleanor Livingstone
Jim Carruth

Sunday 14th September, 2008
Michael Schmidt
Helena Nelson
Dorothy Baird
Charlotte Runcie

Sunday 12th October, 2008
Kei Miller
Hamish Whyte
Rob A. Mackenzie
Alice Howlett

Sunday 9th November, 2008
A.B. Jackson
Colin Will
Patricia Ace
James W. Wood

Sunday 8th February 2009
Tim Turnbull
Andrew Philip
Andrew Shields
(+ one other)


And previously at the Great Grog:

Sunday 10th February 2008
Cheryl Follon
Hazel Frew
Alexander Hutchison
Christie Williamson

Sunday 4th November 2007
Roddy Lumsden
AB Jackson
Andrew Philip
Rob A Mackenzie

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Report on 10 February Readings

After a beautiful sunny day in Edinburgh, the haar (sea-mist) fell over Edinburgh about 3.30pm on 10 February and immediately the temperature dropped, the air dampened, and the whole city was shrouded in cloud. The audience was smaller for the reading than I had hoped, but perhaps some people are still wandering about in the fog trying to find the bar, trying to find any bar.

It didn’t affect the readers who were all terrific. One good thing about them is their lack of ego. No one cared who went on first, last or in between, but the order they read in worked really well. They each write very different poems and are excellent readers. The result yesterday evening was predictably superb, but quality was the only predictable thing.

First was Cheryl Follon whose poems are packed full of sonic explosions and breathless rhythms – it’s hard to imagine a more dynamic start to a poetry reading. Second was Christie Williamson. I had met Christie a few times but had never heard him read and knew his work less than any of the others, but he was simply a revelation: funny, pointed, and well crafted poems, both in English and in Shetlandic dialect. Third was Hazel Frew. Hazel’s poems set a meditative tone, the diction precise and illuminating. Really strong work. Finally, Sandy Hutchison, whose range is as wide as any poet writing today, gave a reading that was witty, surprising and uncategorisable. He sang too, between poems.

So another cracking night at the Grog. Everyone I spoke to in the audience was blown away by the performances. The haar hasn’t yet lifted but for a few hours last night it was summer again.

Christie Williamson Poem

Christie Williamson read at the Great Grog Bar on February 10th. I’m very pleased to feature one of his poems, written in Shetland dialect, which was commended in the Wigtown Poetry Competition 2007. It’s a very good poem and I hope you enjoy it.

Some readers might feel immediately daunted by the dialect, but once you get going, it’s not too difficult, and well worth engaging with. Du = you, de/da = the, aa = all, laek = like, hit = it. Just to start you off.

I'd be interested in comments on how anyone unfamiliar with Shetlandic dialect (I guess that means most of us) found reading this poem.


Whit does du tink hit means
wi de faunsy wirds
an de slack smile,
been wi aabuidy
gyaan naewhaar
laek da mapmakker
draain da hert o Shanghai
gittin lost
atween Dim Sum
an fresh lychees;
laek da accoontant
blaain aa his credit
an losin his cheenge
atween livin free
an deein aald;
laek da merchant
grown fat
on shakkin his heid
wirkin aathin oot
keepin aathin in;
laek da kind voice
hearin ay hoo it’s wrang
seein ay hoo it’s richt
keepin ay oot a sicht;
laek da queek tongue
firin verbal bullets
at conceptual targets
troo a funnellin telescopic gless;
laek da ivy
feelin hit’s wye
ee step faurder itae da wid
ivvery day
no keenin whit threatens hit
ony whit keeps hit alive.

.......... - Christie Williamson, 2007