Bookish Blog 2!

September 30, 2010

This is your not-quite-weekly books bulletin from the SPL shop (on Twitter as @SPLshop!), with a little about what you can buy and borrow from the Scottish Poetry Library. Read on!

New in this week…

Beyond the Last Dragon: A Biography of Edwin Morgan

By James McGonigal

The biography of Edwin Morgan was going to press when the poet died – we’re glad that this first account of his long creative life has reached our shelves so soon. James McGonigal, himself a poet, provides shrewd biographical and ethical insights in an immensely readable volume, available from the SPL at the keen price of £19.99.

Limited edition…

Under the Evening Sky

by the beserkers

It sounds like a joke: what do you get when two Icelanders, two Scots and a Lithuanian live together for a week? Answer: wonderful music, poetry, translations. ‘The beserkers’ was formed in a translation workshop in Crear in 2008, played at the EIBF that year, and now there’s a CD of their haunting and eclectic music, available in a limited edition only from the SPL (£8).

Featuring: Lise Sinclair, Gerry Cambridge, Ađalstein Siguardsson, Ástvaldur Traustason & Gintaras Grajauskas.

Something for the weekend…

Stone Going Home Again: New Writing Scotland 28

ed. by Alan Bissett & Carl MacDougall

Submissions for the next volume of New Writing Scotland closed today – but there’s still time to read Stone Going Home Again, the volume resulting from the last round of submissions. Featuring our very own columnist Kona Macphee, Ryan (in Residence), our podcasting mastermind Colin Fraser, 2009 Calum Macdonald winner Hugh MacMillan and many, many others, you’ll be in good company this weekend. (above, centre)


Published by the Association for Scottish Literary Studies,

End of the month bargain…

Dreychd an Fhigheadair/ The Weaver’s Task: A Gaelic Sampler

Ed. and introduced by Crisdean MhicGhilleBhain/ Christopher Whyte

The fabric of Scotland’s poetry is woven from the threads of the country’s different languages. Since it became common practice for Gaelic poets to translate their own work into English, a crucial strand in that interaction has been lacking. Seven Scottish poets with no knowledge of Gaelic were offered literal versions of contemporary Gaelic poems. In Dreuchd An Fhigheadair/The Weaver’s Task their responses are set alongside the Gaelic originals, revitalising a dialogue in which both sides have much to gain. (above, left)


Published by the Scottish Poetry Library

Cover of the week…

Railway Rhymes

ed. Peter Ashley

This neat hardback from Everyman wins the best design category by way of its dust jacket. Released to commemorate the official opening of the refurbished St Pancras station in London, the light blue jacket of the book is covered in retro fonts and selections from ticket stubs and to crown it off, even has a semi-circle notch taken out of its bottom left-hand corner. The interior continues the retro theme with a hardback that is pressed cloth which actually feels like cloth and the poems are delicately type-set in a serif font. However, the real glory of the interior design is the structure. The poems are split into sections: Navigating, Engineering, Waiting, Travelling and Musing, making it easy to find the right poem for whichever of the stages of a train journey you happen to have reached. (far above, right and above)


Published by Everyman


What we’re talking about over tea… National Poetry Day!

On Thursday 7th October, we’ll be stopping for tea at 3pm. Although we are keen tea-drinkers, this particular tea party will be for a Higher Purpose (oh yes!) and we invite you all to join us in celebrating National Poetry Day with a cup of warming tea and a poem about our theme, ‘home.’ You can join in by coming along to our tea party at the library at 3pm, by stopping to read a poem about home wherever you are, or by tweeting @PoetryDayUK or @ByLeavesWeLive.

Postcards will be available by post from the SPL (send us a self-addressed ordinary letter size envelope with 1st or 2nd class stamp marked NPD 2010), to pick up at the SPL, and online as e-cards from 7th October. Postcards will be available from lots of other places around the country: email us at to find yours.

It’s been all hands on deck this week in the build up to National Poetry Day, particularly for our Reader Development Officer, Lilias Fraser, and our Education Officer, Lorna Irvine. Postcard orders for schools have now closed, resources for teachers and education professionals are up on GLOW (look for a national group called ‘poetry’) and everyone at the library would like to thank them for their hard work with a cup of tea, coffee or Earl Grey… how’s 3pm, Thursday 7th October?

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