March 26, 2009
The week’s Happenings having already been conveyed (lock-in, car chase and Gaelic pigeon etc) we thought we’d leave you Lost for Words instead. Lizzie gets asked for help finding poems on an almost daily basis – these range from the easily trackable to the very obscure.
A fine example of the latter began: ‘It was a poem I read in a magazine at the dentist in 1954…’ Our Lizzie eventually tracked down the elusive poem, an anonymous piece that had apparently been composed upon the wall of Ryvoan Bothy. ‘Fortunately copied before lost’ – it somehow made its way into that magazine in the dentist’s waiting room in 1954, and eventually into an anthology, Poems of the Scottish Hills (Aberdeen University Press, 1982).
But sometimes, some enquiries elude even Lizzie. And that’s where our Lost for Words section comes in. If you’re not familiar with it, this is the page where we post up any requested poems that we haven’t been able to find. The idea being, of course, that a little bell will ring with someone, somewhere, and they’ll get in touch to point us in the right direction. It does happen, and when it does, it’s great – last month we were able to reunite an American pastor with a poem he had been searching for since his time spent studying in Scotland in the 1970s. Only this year it hasn’t been happening enough, so we’d like you all to browse through the Lost for Words postings and see if that little bell rings for you!
Next week In Our Sweet Old Etc, we’ll be chatting to SPL’s Team Education, catching up with our Ryan in Residence, and we’ll start to meet some of the fine faces who frequent the SPL on a regular basis, as well as the usual cakes and whimsies. Till then!
March 26, 2009
Last night Mike Stocks and Helena Nelson read at the library, the closing double-hander for the Poetry Association of Scotland‘s (PAS) Spring programme, 2009. Mike, novelist (Down Deep and White Man Falling) and translator as well as poet, and Helena, poet as well as editor of chapbook press, HappenStance and Sphinx Magazine, read over two halves, with a break for wine and book browsing and a Q&A with PAS chair Joyce Caplan.
On his blog (he’s the Elephant House blogger in residence) Mike said, “Helena’s poetry – like mine, I hope – is approachable and appealing. In fact some of it – like mine, I fear – is said to be “quirky and satirical, not for the faint-hearted or under-10s…”. The mood in the SPL was high, and their set well-received; Mike read from Folly, his celebration of the sonnet in all its forms, and Helena from her pamphlet Unsuitable Poems. There was even, at one point, an appreciative roar from some Crichton’s Close drunks going about their business. You can borrow both collections from us.
Mike is about to embark on a trip to Buenos Aires to research his latest novel, The Melancholy School of Tango, while Helena’s How (Not) To Get Your Poetry Published is an invaluable, enjoyable aid to those seeking publishing advice. A trip to the Tolbooth Tavern and a chat about Sedoka (not to be confused with Sudoku) with Rod Burns rounded the evening off nicely.