Could you briefly describe the events you are organising? What genres, topics and audiences are you focused on?
The Scottish Poetry Library
is a unique national resource and advocate for the art of poetry, and Scottish poetry in particular. We are passionately committed to bringing the pleasures and benefits of poetry to as wide an audience as possible.
Throughout the year the Scottish Poetry Library runs events primarily in our own venue. We have a Spring and Autumn Season, with about 20 events in each, and we also work in partnership with festivals such as Edinburgh International Book Festival and StAnza – Scotland’s International Poetry Festival. The library started, though in a different location, in 1984 and we moved to our current premises – a purpose-built poetry library – in 1999.
Most of our events attract 30-50 people and they all focus on poetry; usually readings, lectures, debates and poetry in exhibition or collaboration with other art forms. We also run workshops and reading groups, and do work in schools.
How do you cooperate with your local writers? Could you briefly describe your local writing scene?
We work with poets locally, from around the UK and from Europe and around the world. We invite them to read at events and participate in workshops, we offer them and recommend them for opportunities and we help them connect with festivals and other programmes. We also promote their work and events online and through our print materials, as well as collecting their books in our poetry library.
Our local scene is diverse and has rich veins of spoken word, written word and everything in between. We range from quite experimental to very formal and traditional – really you can find just about every sort of writer here. I would say that the communities can be slightly separate but generally are supportive within each area, and we work to foster links between the different "types” of poetry in Scotland and beyond.
How do you cooperate with foreign writers and organisations?
We work with organisations like Literature Across Frontiers
and now the Literary Europe Live
platform to help foster relationships with literary organisations and writers from Europe and beyond. We have a long history of working with writers from many other countries and so have also built up relationships and connections over the years which continue to blossom.
The Edwin Morgan Trust has also begun to sponsor international poetry workshops that we manage and host every other year. It is important for us to keep making these connections, to help writers in Scotland to meet and learn about poets and poetry from around the world and to help to bring Scottish poetry and poets to the rest of the world.
Scottish Poetry Library participates in the project New Voices from Europe. Why do you find it important, both locally for you and internationally?
It is an excellent project as poets at this level are some of the most interesting voices writing today and yet it is often harder for them to be translated and to be heard beyond their own countries, so this project allows us to help these writers to have a bigger platform and to make new connections around Europe.
How important are literary translations for you? Do you work on presenting and translating foreign works?
We believe that they are vital in that they allow access to poetry in other languages than one’s own and help build connections and communication between writers, readers and translators. Through the help of Literature Across Frontiers we have a long tradition of running translation workshops using poet-translators and English language bridge translations, and this has been an important part of the library’s international work over the years and has helped form many ongoing poetic collaborations and relationships.
We have also fostered and been involved in other translation projects such as the 2015 Quebec-Scotland Poetry Exchange Project
which was a collaboration between the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Maison de la poésie de Montréal, British Council Canada and the Scottish Poetry Library: