Many things are important to ensuring a poetry scene remains healthy. Good poets, obviously, are important. Knowledgeable critics with a lively style helps too. A diverse and brave publishing industry. An enthusiastic and versatile readership. Bring them together and you have a community. There are plenty of fabulous book festivals where you can hear writers reading their own work, but we wanted to create a space where poets, readers, students, critics, academics and anyone else interested in poetry could come together to talk, listen and learn.
Over 3 days in November (Friday 14 November to Sunday 16 November), the SPL presents SYMPOETRY. It brings together international poets and critics for three days of readings, debates, panel discussions and plenty of good food and conversation. This year the question we’re going to be considering over the course of the symposium is ‘Poetry: Who’s speaking? Who’s listening?’
We’ve selected a stellar group of speakers and poets to lead the conversations but the audience and community’s contributions are key, and people can get in on the conversation via Twitter by using #sympoetry. Some of this year’s speakers include:
DON PATERSON: Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize and Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, Paterson is one of the leading lights in what has been acclaimed a golden generation of Scottish poets. He features in an event on ‘the poetry of music and the music of poetry’, as well as a special poetry / music concert on the Saturday night alongside rising star MacGillivray.
FIONA SAMPSON: A T.S. Eliot Prize-nominated poet, Sampson was the first woman editor of Poetry Review, the oldest and most widely read poetry journal in the UK. She was the first woman editor of the journal since Muriel Spark in the 1940s. She’ll be performing as well as contributing to a debate on the role of women in poetry.
THOMAS LUX: Acclaimed American poet, Lux is a former winner of the $50,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his sixth collection, Split Horizons.
TIM DEE: Producer of Radio 4’s ever-popular Poetry Please, Dee will talk about what becomes popular in poetry.
MACIEJ WOZNIAK: The Scottish Poetry Library’s first International Poet-in-Residence. Born in Poland, Woźniak is a poet and music critic.
SASHA DUGDALE: Poet, playwright, and translator Sasha Dugdale was born in Sussex. She has translated Russian poetry and drama, including Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, as well as being an acclaimed poet in her own right and is the editor of the journal Modern Poetry in Translation
ALAN GILLIS: The Edinburgh Review editor was recently chosen to be part of the Next Generation Poets 2014 alongside Kei Miller and Kate Tempest.
ALAN TAYLOR: Pugnacious editor of this esteemed organ who’ll be chairing the main debate. The Scottish Review of Books is SYMPOETRY’s media partner.
MACGILLIVRAY: Poet, performance artist and musician MacGillivray. She is currently appearing as John Clare’s lost love Mary Joyce with Toby Jones in a new film about the poet. She appears on the Saturday night beside Don Paterson. Tickets for this event can be bought separately (add link http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sympoetry-don-paterson-and-macgillivray-tickets-12545440751?aff=eorg) at a cost of £5 (£4 concessions) from SYMPOETRY if you can’t come commit to the entire festival.
Want to know more? The Scottish Poetry Library blog has a full timetable of events across the three days (add link http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/blog/sympoetry ). Plus Saltire Literary Award-shortlisted poet JL Williams (aka the SPL’s Programme Manager) and the editor of Be the First to Like This: New Scottish Poetry Colin Waters (aka Communications Manager) discuss SYMPOETRY in a five-minute mini-podcast (add link https://soundcloud.com/scottishpoetrylibrary/what-is-sympoetry-a-very-mini-podcast ).
A ticket to SYMPOETRY costs £100 (£80 concessions) (add link http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sympoetry-the-spl-poetry-symposium-tickets-12545053593?aff=eorg ) which not only gives you access to the events and the poets, we’ll also be making delicious food available throughout the weekend at no additional cost. Give yourself an early Christmas present and join us for SYMPOETRY this November.