We are delighted to offer a small quantity of A Choosing: Selected Poems by Liz Lochhead for sale.

This limited edition, produced for and previously exclusive to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, presents a ‘crafted, personal selection of poems published over the last four decades, along with new work,’ with a foreword by Carol Ann Duffy. The trade edition of A Choosing: Selected Poems is due to be published by Polygon in October 2011.

Polygon says of A Choosing: Selected Poems:

A stunning new collection of selected works from one of Scotland’s most loved writers. During her career Liz Lochhead has been described variously as a poet, feminist playwright, translator and broadcaster but has said that ‘when somebody asks me what I do I usually say writer. The most precious thing to me is to be a poet. If I were a playwright, I’d like to be a poet in the theatre.’ Liz Lochhead has a large and devoted audience and delights audiences where she goes. Liz Lochhead was appointed Scotland’s Poet Laureate (Makar) in January 2011.

To order, please get in touch with reception@spl.org.uk, call 0131 557 2876 or pop into the library. We accept cash and cheque.

Copies are priced at £9.99 and postage and packing for postal orders will be £1.50 per copy, with international shipping quoted on request.


Launched last night at the Scottish Poetry Library, Amorous Greetings (Mariscat Press, 2010, £5) presents a selection of the amorous greetings sent by the poet Gael Turnbull to his wife Jill on her birthday, their wedding anniversary and on St. Valentine’s Day throughout their marriage. These were given in a variety of home-made formats and ‘in terms of’ all sorts of things, such as a gardening catalogue, a supermarket advertisement and even the Oxford English Dictionary.

Hamish Whyte and Jill Turnbull read from the new selection launched, appropriately, on St. Valentine’s Day. Also reading poems inspired by Gael Turnbull at last night’s event were Christine De Luca, Jim C Wilson, Diana Hendry and Stewart Conn, who presented his in the form of a paper aeroplane.

In her introduction to the book, Jill says:

It will not be difficult to understand that these little poems, in hand-made cards, left propped up on the kitchen table for me to find in the morning, are very precious to me. So it is a poignant delight to see them in print. Thank you, Mariscat.

The Scottish Poetry is privileged to be exhibiting these original greetings (above) for a short time only – until the end of the month – and to be able to offer the pamphlet for sale. To reserve or buy a copy, please email reception@spl.org.uk, call 0131 557 2876 or drop by.


from Amorous Greetings:

In terms of a supermarket advertisement


When every day

is another


special offer.


by Gael Turnbull

Catching up…

December 13, 2010

After a quiet, snowy week, it has occurred to us that we have failed to be suitably excited about our new, shiny Christmas present to the shop.

We were very excited when it arrived. So excited that we mistook it for one of our own staff.

However, it was not an extra Peggy. It was, in fact, our new turning, spinning, small items presentation stand.

Its minimalistic beauty can't be fully appreciated until you see its wider context.

Silliness mostly aside, and getting into the spirit of the festive season, we have some gift packages to take away for £15, containing:

Ten Seasons

co-published with Luath Press
ed: Gerry Loose
Photographs: Morven Gregor

Through the Letterbox

published by Renaissance Press
Haikus by George Bruce, illustrated by Elizabeth Blackadder, collected and edited by Lucina Prestige

Poet Prints

21 new portraits of Scottish writers, including Douglas Dunn, Andrew Greig and Jackie Kay. Postcards collected into one volume- perfect for sending individually or giving as a gift whole.
Edited by Ken Cockburn and Colin Cavers.

Also included is one of our specially designed leaf cards with red envelope.

Individually, these items would cost up to £20, but as a gift pack, you can get the lot for only £15. Perfect for giving to friends and family or keeping for your own holiday reading. We think they’re rather pretty as well:

Our online shop, found here, has a selection of items we have for sale. However, we have much more on our shelves- if you can’t make it to the library before Christmas, please do give us a call on 0131 557 2876 or email us at reception@spl.org.uk.

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, http://www.asls.org.uk

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 reception@spl.org.uk 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?

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 | www.thedarkhorsemagazine.com

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)

Online shop

January 20, 2010

Dear far flung friends, and anyone else who prefers to shop from the comfort of their living room within proximity of the kettle,

our online shop is open! Featuring some of our most popular titles, including our charming ‘Great Occasions’ books Handfast, Handsel, Lament and Kin (all Polygon), the only-available-from-the-SPL Addressing the Bard: Twelve Contemporary Poets Respond To Robert Burns (just in time for the great man’s birthday!) and our fabulous SPL linen book bags to put them all in, our shop will satisfy your poetry desires. All purchases help us continue doing what we’re doing – the gift of poetry that keeps on giving.

Plastic at the ready…