Bookish bulletin 1!

September 17, 2010

This is your weekly books bulletin from the SPL shop (on Twitter now as @SPLshop!), with a little about what you can buy and borrow from the Scottish Poetry Library. You’ll find our favourite new retail acquisition, something for the weekend, our favourite book cover of the week and what we’re talking about over tea. Read on!

New in this week…

We have quite a few new titles in this week, and we’ll be sharing a bit about them anon, but this week we’re enchanted by The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott (ed. Thomas Crawford) (fourth on the right, left.)

Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem was first published in 1810 and brought people to the Trossachs the way The War of the Worlds on the radio drove people to the streets (for entirely different reasons, it must be said). The devotion shown in producing this edition is evident in the level of detail throughout, from the lovely endpaper maps to small touches such as the small red line separating discreet, helpful footnotes from text. Linda Farquharson’s illustrations in black, white and red were specially commissioned for this edition and add much to its enjoyment. This special edition to mark the 200th anniversary of its publication is a striking one, whether you are new to The Lady in the Lake or revisiting it.

Price: £14.95 | Foreword by Alex Salmond MSP, introduction by Douglas Gifford and illustrated by Linda Farquharson | (pub. The Association for Scottish Literary Studies in partnership with the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, 2010)

Something for the weekend …

Ten Seasons: explorations in the Botanics

ed. Gerry Loose, photographs by Morven Gregor (right, right)

Ten Seasons is a good way to describe the average autumn day in Scotland as well as being the title of this anthology. However, one thing doesn’t change: the pleasure of visiting Botanical Gardens. This collection grew out of Gerry Loose’s three years as Poet in Residence at Glasgow’s Botanical Gardens and is a gathering of texts, along with stunning photographs. Poetry is presented through scraps of material, stone and water. As we’re sensing a change of season in the air in Scotland, marked by indecision as to exactly what weight of coat to wear in the morning, the time couldn’t be better to pick up this collection.

Price: £9.99 | (pub. Luath Press Ltd. and the Scottish Poetry Libary, 2007).

Cover of the Week

The Dark Horse: The Scottish-American Poetry Magazine, issue 25: Summer/Autumn 2010.

ed. Gerry Cambridge (left, in pic above)

Typeset and designed by Gerry Cambridge, bound by The Charlesworth Group, The Dark Horse is a pleasure to read and not just because of its top notch content. This colourful cover is multi-functional: it will steal hours of your time by glancing and staring, and it clearly presents a selection of contributors to the issue.  With a smooth, matte finish and a wonderful internal layout, this is our design pick of the week.

Price: £5.00 |

Bestseller of the Week

How Not To Get Your Poetry Published

by Helena Nelson

One of the most popular titles in our shop. The Dark Horse (25) contributor, Helena Nelson, has produced a succinct, to-the-point introduction to the snarls and joys of being an active poet in the poetry publishing world. Produced with the understated style HappenStance is best known for, this 52 page pamphlet gives honest and useful rather than blindly encouraging answers to most of the frequently asked questions.

Price: £5.00 | (pub. HappenStance, 2009)

Around the tea tray, we’re talking about… James Hogg, Confessions of a Justified Sinner

I asked what people were reading at the moment and accidentally started a lively debate about the fear factor of James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Greg, a PhD student with a focus on concrete poetry, is reading it to get to sleep at night- a tactic that may have backfired. Assistant Librarian Lizzie MacGregor admitted that it was the only book she’d never managed to finish, while our Librarian Julie has it on her shelf to be read but hasn’t started it. I remember finding it hard going for the first little while when it appeared on my university syllabus a few years ago but staying up late to find out how it ended. Lilias, our Reader Development Officer, said:

You start off reading it, thinking, oh here’s a nice douce classic Scottish novel, I’ll plough worthily through it and it will be educational. Very soon you realise how badly you may have underestimated it. Soon after that you realise you’re the only person in the house this evening. I still can’t go for a walk on the Crags if there’s a bit of a mist coming in.

What are your memories of this Scottish classic? Answers on a comment-shaped postcard…

For more about James Hogg, see:

For starters:

Lending: James Hogg: Selected Poems and Songs ed. David Groves (Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh 1986)

Reference: The Poems of James Hogg, The Ettrick Shepherd (Selected), with Introduction by Mrs. Garden (Walter Scott Limited, London)

For a closer look:

Lending: A Queer Book, James Hogg ed. P.D. Garside (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 1995)

Reference: The Queen’s Wake, James Hogg ed. Douglas S. Mack (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 1994)

About: James Hogg: A Critical Study by Louis Simpson (Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh 1962)

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