Vespers #34 – Tuesday 3 March 2020

briggs cumming meredith

Three terrific poets from several hundreds of miles away are coming for this special one-off Edinburgh reading. It is not to be missed! As usual, 7 for 7.30pm at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT. Tuesday 3 March 2020

Since receiving an Eric Gregory Award in 2002, David Briggs has published three collections with Salt Publishing. The Method Men [2010] was shortlisted for the London Festival Poetry Prize, and Rain Rider [2013] was a winter selection of the Poetry Book Society. His third book — Cracked Skull Cinema [2019], a Poetry Wales pick of the year — has taken him on a reading tour ranging from a Festival of Death and Dying in Somerset to the Suffolk coast for Poetry in Aldeburgh. His work has appeared in journals and anthologies from The Poetry Review to Identity Parade.

Tim Cumming’s collections include The Miniature Estate (1991), Apocalypso (1992, 1999), Contact Print (2002), The Rumour (2004), The Rapture (2011) Etruscan Miniatures (2012), Rebel Angels in the Mind Shop (2015) and Knuckle (2019). His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Forward’s Poems of the Decade, the WS Graham anthology, The Caught Habits of Language and Bloodaxe Books’ anthology of poetry from Ireland and the British Isles, Identity Parade.
He made the BBC4 documentary Hawkwind: Do Not Panic in 2007, and has shown his film poems at cinemas and festivals worldwide. He writes regularly about music and the arts, and his paintings have been exhibited at Slader’s Yard in Dorset and the Rowley Gallery in west London.

Christopher Meredith is a Welsh poet, novelist and translator working mainly in English and sometimes in Welsh. His groudbreaking first novel, Shifts, is regarded as a modern classic. He has broadcast on radio and TV and given readings and talks all round Britain as well as in the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Slovenia and the USA. Born and brought up in Tredegar, he has been a steelworker, a schoolteacher and a university professor, now lives in Brecon and writes full time.

Doors open 7pm, readings begin 7.30pm. Entry is £3, raffle tickets £1 each. See you there!


Vespers #33 – Tuesday 4th February 2020

Lindsay williams gamble
Our first event of 2020 will feature three poets reading from their work: Jenny Lindsay, Tony Williams and Miriam Gamble. It’s on Tuesday 4 February at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. Doors open 7pm, readings begin at 7.30pm.

Jenny Lindsay is one of Scotland’s best-known spoken-word performers, and her spoken-word organisation, Flint and Pitch, was included in The List Magazine’s Hot 100 for 2017. As one half of cult literary-cabaret duo Rally & Broad (2012–16), she was described as “one of Scotland’s finest cultural innovators.” (Gutter Magazine, 2015). Jenny has performed across the UK and further afield at a variety of festivals and events including the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She is the author of one full collection and two pamphlets of poetry and was the BBC Slam Champion in 2012. Her publications are The Eejit Pit (2012), Ire & Salt (2015), and This Script (2019).

Tony Williams’s new poetry collection is Hawthorn City, published by Salt. His previous work includes The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street (shortlisted for the Aldeburgh Prize) and The Midlands. His novel Nutcase is a contemporary retelling of the medieval Icelandic Saga of Grettir the Strong. He teaches creative writing at Northumbria University and lives In rural Northumberland.

Miriam Gamble was born in Brussels in 1980 and grew up in Belfast. She studied at Oxford and at Queen’s University Belfast, where she completed a PhD in contemporary British and Irish poetry. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2007, and the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award in 2010. Her pamphlet, This Man’s Town, was published by tall-lighthouse in 2007. Her first book-length collection, The Squirrels Are Dead, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2010 and won her a Somerset Maugham Award in 2011. Her second collection, Pirate Music, was published by Bloodaxe in 2014, and her third, What Planet, in May 2019. She lectures in creative writing at Edinburgh University.

Doors open 7pm, readings begin 7.30pm. Entry is £3, raffle tickets £1 each. See you there!

Vespers #32 – A Poetic Christmas Dinner Special: Tuesday 3 December

It’s time for our festive Vespers! Doors open at 7pm, readings begin 7.30, Tuesday 3 December, Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT. This year we’ll be dishing out a poetic Christmas dinner. We’ve asked 12 poets each to write and perform a poem inspired (however loosely or tangentially) by part of a Christmas dinner menu. There will be turkey and nut roast, pigs in blankets, trifle, prosecco, the Queen’s speech, leftfovers, and much more. In addition, the poets will also each choose a poem written by someone else that offers light for dark times and read that too. The menu will be something like this:

1. Ross McCleary: Turkey/Vegan Roast (remember to switch the oven on)
2. Sawsan Al-Areeqe: the Christmas candle
3. Marina Dora Martino: Starter / pigs in blankets
4. Kevin Williamson: Sides
5. Rosa Campbell: cranberry sauce / gravy
6. Marcas Mac an Tuirneair: Christmas pudding
7. Claire Miranda Roberts: Trifle
8. RJ Archipov: Prosecco
9. Shehzar Doja: Cheese / Mulled wine
10. Iain Matheson: Mince Pies
11. Colin Bramwell: The Queen’s Speech
12. Wils Struthers: the leftovers

Entry £3, raffle tickets £1 each. We may bring along some free Christmas baked goodies, if we have time to do it! And the Vespers team will MC the event in some kind of way.

Vespers #31 – Wednesday 6th November

Berring Raha LaveryAnother round of three exciting poets for Vespers 31, ATTENTION: THIS TIME ON A WEDNESDAY! Wednesday 6 November, readings start at 7:30pm. Doors open at 7pm at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT

Nat Raha is a poet, musician and trans / queer activist, living in Edinburgh. Her poetry includes sirens, body & faultlines (Boiler House Press, 2018), countersonnets (Contraband Books, 2013), and Octet (Veer Books, 2010). Her poetry is of an innovative, condensed and politicised lyric, speaking of marginal forms of living and queer desires, feeling through feminist diasporas and generative constraints. Her work has been translated into French, German, Greek, Portuguese and Spanish. Nat is a postdoctoral researcher on the ‘Cruising the 70s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures’ project at the Edinburgh College of Art, and co-edits Radical Transfeminism zine.

Tessa Berring’s pamphlet Cut Glass and No Flowers was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2017. In addition to her own writing, she engages regularly with other collaborative and interdisciplinary art projects. She also works extensively in translation, most recently in Riga, with the Latvian Literature Platform. Her first collection, Bitten Hair, was published in 2019 by Blue Diode Press.

Hannah Lavery’s most recent spoken word show, The Drift was part of National Theatre of Scotland’s Just Start Here festival in 2018. She is the director of CoastWord Festival and the Scottish Poetry Library’s Learning and Engagement Coordinator. Her poetry has been published by Gutter Magazine and 404 ink amongst others, and her first pamphlet of short fiction, Rocket Girls, was published by Postbox Press in 2018. Her pamphlet Finding Sea Glass was published by Stewed Rhubarb Press in 2019 and accompanies her National Theatre of Scotland autumn tour of her one-woman show The Drift.

Doors open 7pm, readings begin 7.30pm. Entry is £3, raffle tickets £1 each. The Vespers team will be hosting with their usual shambolic MCing. See you there!

Vespers #30 – Tuesday 1 October


Three brilliantly eclectic and unpredictable poets make up the bill for Vespers 30: Ira Lightman, Roseanne Watt and Colin Will. Tuesday 1 October, doors open 7.15pm, readings start 7.30pm. At the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT.

Ira Lightman’s work is informed by music, mathematics, language-learning, computers and pattern-seeking. Many of his critical ideas touch on improvisation and the vexed question of free verse for our times. He has made conceptual pieces for national radio, including one of the only celebrations in the world of Pi’s 300th birthday and a multi-voiced celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Roseanne Watt is the winner of the 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and the 2015 Outspoken Poetry Prize (Poetry in Film). She is poetry editor for The Island Review and lives and works in Edinburgh. Her first collection, Moder Dy, was published by Polygon in May 2019.

Colin Will has been around for ever, but is now winding down. He’s been involved with the Scottish Poetry Library, StAnza, the CoastWord Festival and others. Trained in science, he’s the author of nine poetry books.

Entry is £3, raffle tickets £1 each. The Vespers team will be hosting with their usual warm and engagingly shambolic style. See you there!

Vespers #29 – Tuesday 3 September

vespers 29 line-up It’s Vespers 29: Tuesday 3 September, readings start 7.30pm, at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT. Three more poets are joining us for the first Vespers after the festival season:

Eleanor Rees was born in Birkenhead, Merseyside in 1978. Her pamphlet collection Feeding Fire (Spout, 2001) received an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and her first full length collection Andraste’s Hair (Salt, 2007) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Glen Dimplex New Writers Awards.
Her second collection Eliza and the Bear (Salt, 2009) is also a live performance for voice and harp which has toured in the North West. In 2015 Eleanor published her third full-length collection Blood Child (Liverpool University Press/Pavilion, 2015) and a long pamphlet Riverine(Gatehouse Press, 2015). Her fourth full collection The Well at Winter Solstice, was published by Salt in 2019.
Eleanor is Lecturer in Creative Writing at Liverpool Hope University and lives in Liverpool.

Janette Ayachi is a Scottish-Algerian poet living in Edinburgh. She has been published in many literary journals, including New Writing Scotland, and Gutter, and in anthologies: Be the First to Like This: New Scottish Poetry (Vagabond Voices, 2014), The Best British Poetry 2015 (Salt), and #Untitled 2, Neu! Reekie! (Polygon, 2016). She has been short-listed for Write Queer London as well as a Lancelot Andrewes Award judged by Carol Ann Duffy. Her film-poem collaboration On Meeting a Fox was part of the official selection for the Visible Verse Festival in Vancouver in 2013. She is the author of the poetry pamphlets Pauses at Zebra Crossings (Original Plus Press, 2012) and A Choir of Ghosts (Calder Wood Press, 2013). Her first full poetry collection, Hand over Mouth Music, was published by Liverpool University Press in April 2019.

Andrew Blair is a poet, performer and producer based in Musselburgh. With writing credits in Gutter, 404 Ink and at Flint & Pitch, Blair is the co-producer of Poetry as Fuck, making podcasts and Poetry Shows with Ross McClearly such as Lies, Dreaming and The Ambassador’s Reception (a spoken word murder-mystery night taking place during a Ferrero Rocher advert). His debut collection – An Intense Young Man at an Open Mic Night – was published in 2017. He is currently working on keeping a tiny human alive.

£3 entry, £1 raffle tickets. The bar will be open shortly after 7pm, readings start sharp at 7.30pm. The Vespers team will entertain you with astonishingly short introductions between poets.

Vespers 28 – MONDAY 1 July 2019



A tremendous line-up is in store for our July event: Ilya Kaminsky, Sheila Templeton and Anne-Laure Coxam. It’s at the Scottish Poetry Library (5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT) as usual, 7pm doors open (and the donation bar), readings start at 7.30pm, £3 entry, £1 for a raffle ticket.

Ilya Kaminsky is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Arc, 2014; originally Tupelo Press 2004) and Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press/Faber), which has been shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize and is the Summer 2019 Poetry Book Society Choice. You can hear (and/or read) an adaptation of it on Radio 4’s Book of the Week programme, available on iPlayer at this link – . He has also co-edited and co-translated many other books, including Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins) and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (Alice James Books). His awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, Lannan Foundation’s Fellowship and the NEA Fellowship. His poems regularly appear in Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize anthologies. He has also been awarded Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize. Dancing In Odessa was named the Best Book of the Year by Foreword magazine. Recently, he was on the short-list for Neustadt International Literature Prize. His poems have been translated over twenty languages, and his books have been published in many countries including Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize.

Anne Laure Coxam is an Edinburgh based poet from France. She has had work published in Local Tongue, LIT, Valve, Zarf, DATABLEED, Poetry Scotland and in the anthology Umbrellas of Edinburgh. Her first pamphlet, Toolbox Therapy, was published by Sad Press in the autumn of 2016.

Sheila Templeton writes in both Scots and English. She has won the McCash Scots Language Poetry Competition twice and the Robert McLellan Poetry Competition. She has just been named this year’s winner of the Neil Gunn Writing Competition’s Adult Poetry Section. Her work has been published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies. From 2010 to 2011, she was the Makar of the Federation of Writers Scotland. She currently lives in Glasgow. Gaitherin (Red Squirrel Press) is her fourth poetry collection.

All compered by the Vespers team

Vespers 27 – Tuesday 4 June 2019


A very exciting line-up for you at Vespers #27 in the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. Doors (and bar) open at 7pm, readings start at 7.30pm. A unique combination of poets I suspect you will never see reading together again, so don’t miss it!

Eileen Chong is a poet based in Sydney, Australia. She was born in Singapore of Chinese descent. Her poetry collections include Burning Rice (2012), Peony (2014), Painting Red Orchids (2016), and Rainforest (2018), all from Pitt Street Poetry, Sydney. Chong writes about food, family, migration, love and loss. The Singaporean-Australian poet Boey Kim Cheng has said that ‘Chong’s work offers a poetry of feeling, rendered in luminous detail and language, alive to the sorrows and joys of daily living.’ Her books have been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Anne Elder Award 2012 for a first book, the Australian Arts in Asia Award 2013, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award 2017, and the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award 2013 and 2017. 

Samuel Tongue is Project Co-ordinator at the Scottish Poetry Library. His first pamphlet is Hauling-Out (Eyewear, 2016) and his second, Stitch, has been recently published by Tapsalteerie. He has published poems in numerous anthologies and magazines including And Other PoemsCorditeGutterInkInterpreter’s HouseSweat & TearsMagma, and Northwords Now. He was awarded a Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers Award in 2013 and is featured in Be The First to Like This: New Scottish Poetry (Vagabond Voices, 2014). He is a co-editor of New Writing Scotland and poetry editor at the Glasgow Review of Books

Raman Mundair was born in India, raised in Manchester and Leicester and now lives in Shetland. She is the author of two volumes of poetry: A Choreographer’s Cartography (2007) and Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves (2003); and the play, The Algebra of Freedom (2007), produced to great acclaim by 7:84 Theatre Company. In 2006 she also collaborated with the National Theatre Scotland and Òran Mòr – A Play, A Pie, A Pint on Side Effects, a one-act play. As an artist she makes work that represents text and narrative in a visual form. Her work has been exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, City Art Gallery, Leicester and Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin. 

Entry is £3, Raffle Tickets are £1. The Vespers team will be there to guide you through the evening in the usual chaotic way.

Vespers 26 – Tuesday 7 May

pirobrhop2 (1)

Vespers 26 features three amazing poets. It’s on Tuesday 7 May at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. Readings start at 7.30pm but you can arrive anytime after 7pm and have a drink from the SPL bar. The line-up:

Dan O’Brien is a poet and playwright living in Los Angeles. O’Brien’s debut poetry collection, ‘War Reporter’, praised in the Guardian as “a masterpiece of truthfulness and feeling,” received the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His subsequent collections are ‘Scarsdale’ and ‘New Life’, both published by CB Editions. O’Brien’s plays have been produced off-Broadway and in London and have received many recognitions including a Guggenheim Fellowship, two PEN America Awards, the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize, the Horton Foote Prize for Best New American Play, and a shortlisting for an Evening Standard Prize. Dan O’Brien: Plays One was published in 2017 by Oberon. 

David Hopkins is a poet and art historian. He teaches at Glasgow University and has published several books on Dada and Surrealism and recent art. Since the 1980s he has performed widely, collaborating with the likes of Bob Cobbing at venues such as Newcastle-upon Tyne’s Morden Tower. His sound poetry performance is included on the CD in The Order of Things (Pocketbooks, Edinburgh 2001). His poems have been published in various anthologies. In recent years he has performed at Edinburgh venues such as Caesura and the Fruitmarket Gallery. The range of his poetry is wide, shifting from dadaist humour to personal lyricism, and taking in subjects from Captain Beefheart to the moles on Queen Victoria’s back.

Alycia Pirmohamed is a Canadian-born poet living in Scotland, where she is completing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. She is the author of the chapbook ‘Faces that Fled the Wind’, and the winner of the 2019 92Y Discovery Contest, and 2018 Ploughshares Emerging Writers’ Contest in Poetry. Her poetry has recently appeared, or is forthcoming in, Prairie Schooner, The Adroit Journal, The London Magazine, Gutter, Poetry Book Society, and others. Alycia received an MFA from the University of Oregon. She can be found on Twitter @a_pirmohamed .

£3 entry, £1 raffle tickets. The bar will be open shortly after 7pm, readings start sharp at 7.30pm. There will be the usual engagingly shambolic MCing by the Vespers team.

Vespers 25 – Tuesday 2 April 2019

morrison brechin rodgerThree of the most exciting and unique poets around in Scotland at the moment are at Vespers on Tuesday 2 April, 7.30pm at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT. Come and hear these voices which sound like nothing else.

Annie Brechin has been published in The Wolf, Stand, Magma, Rising, B O D Y, Paris Lit Up and others. She is a former editor of The Prague Review. Her collection, ‘The Body Alone’, was published in 2018.

Iain Morrison is a poet, musician and performance artist based in Edinburgh. His first full collection, ‘I’m a Pretty Circler’, was published in 2018 by Vagabond Voices.

Calum Rodger is a poet, researcher, tutor and events organiser working in performance, print and digital media. His pamphlets ‘Glasgow Flourishes’ and ‘Know Yr Stuff: Poems on Hedonism’ are published by Tapsalteerie

The SPL bar will be open from just after 7pm. Readings start sharpish at 7.30pm. Entry is £3 at the door, raffle tickets £1.

And here is the Facebook event page, if you’d like to let us know you’re coming.