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.

Vespers 24 – Tues 5 March 2019

JenHCynMRosWVespers 24 brings you a fantastic line-up of poets: Jen Hadfield, Ross Wilson and Cynthia Miller. Readings start sharp at 7.30pm, Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. Come earlier to buy a drink from the Scottish Poetry Library bar.

Jen Hadfield’s most recent collection is ‘Byssus’ (Picador, 2014). Her second collection, ‘Nigh-No-Place’ (Bloodaxe, 2008) won the T.S. Eliot Prize. She will be reading a brand new set of poems at the March Vespers.

Ross Wilson was raised in Kelty, Fife. His first full collection, ‘Line Drawing’, was published by Smokestack Books in 2018. He has been a recipient of a Hawthornden International Fellowship and Clydebuilt mentorship, and works as an auxiliary nurse.

Cynthia Miller is Co-Director of Verve, Birmingham’s Poetry and Spoken Word Festival. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2013 and her poetry is featured in, among many other publications, ‘Primers:Volume Two'(Nine Arches Press, 2017).

Hosts will be Jane Bonnyman, Rob A. Mackenzie and Alice Tarbuck. Entry is £3 at the door. Raffle tickets are £1. We aim, as ever without quite succeeding, to finish at 8.30pm.

Vespers 23


Vespers is back for a new session of events in 2019 and we hope many of you can join us for a great programme. First event is Vespers #23 on Tues 5 February 2019 at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. Doors open around 7pm. Come and have a drink before taking your seats. Readings start 7.30pm sharp. It’s £3 entry (tickets at the door), £1 for a raffle ticket. The fantastic line-up:

Tim Turnbull:
Tim is from Yorkshire. Between 1979 and 1994 Turnbull played and sang with a series of punk/ska/industrial bands: The Rockin’ Molerats, S.A.F., The Live Lobsters, The Long Haired Lovers, The Dog Conspiracy and finally, after a move to London in 1992, Machine Intelligence. His first full collection of poetry Stranded in Sub-Atomica (Donut Press, 2005) was was shortlisted for Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection in the 2006 Forward Prizes. In the same year he was awarded a Performance Poetry Fellowship by the Arts Foundation, the first of its kind in Britain. He was also awarded a Scottish Arts Council Bursary to help with the completion of a second collection, Caligula on Ice and other poems. Tim’s most recent publication is his third collection of poetry, Avanti! (2018), from Red Squirrel Press.

Marjorie Lotfi Gill:
Marjorie was born in New Orleans, spent her childhood in Tehran, and then lived around the U.S.A before moving to the UK in 1999. Her most recent pamphlet is Refuge, published by Tapsalteerie Press (2018). Her particular interests are writing that explores the journeys and questions of belonging, particularly relating to the experiences of migrants and refugees, through a project she founded called The Belonging Project and other commissioned work. She also regularly writes in response to art (as a part of the women’s writing collective 12, was Poet in Residence at Jupiter Artland, and Writer in Residence for Spring Fling 2015 etc. She is Chair of the Wigtown Book Festival Board and a Scottish Book Trust Ignite fellow.

Lisa Fannen:
Lisa Fannen’s latest pamphlet is Faultline, which contains poems drawing on acute observation and personal experiences in the UK and US, as well as other politically charged poems. Lisa also has a pamphlet of poems called Snapshots, and their poems have been published to date in International Times, Magma and the Long Poem Magazine. In previous projects she has blended her words and writing with music – solo and with musicians/sound makers – and explored improvising with movement and text, audio samples, live sound and projected film. She is also an organiser around health and social justice, and a community herbalist, part of the Radical Herbalism gathering which explores holistic and plant medicines and their interaction with social justice and change.

Alice Tarbuck has joined Rob and Jane on the organising committee, Chris Kerr has retired due to other commitments and we thank him for all the work he put in.

Vespers 22: Twelve Days of Christmas

12 days of christmas

Vespers Poetry will host a ’12 Days of Christmas’ Special on Tuesday 4 December, 7.15-8.30pm, at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT.

We have invited 12 poets and allocated a Day to each. What will they come up with? Twelve original poems and a few cover versions too, most likely. The line-up is:

12 Drummers Drumming – Alice Tarbuck
11 Pipers Piping – Meredith Bailey
10 Lords a Leaping – Calum Rodger
9 Ladies Dancing – Andrew Sclater
8 Maids a Milking – Dominic Harris
7 Swans a Swimming – David Hopkins
6 Geese a Laying – Hazel Frew
5 Golden Rings – Christine de Luca
4 Calling Birds – Louise Peterkin
3 French Hens – Jane McKie
2 Turtle Doves – Annie Brechin
A Partridge in a Pear Tree – Andrew Philip

Hosts will be Jane Bonnyman, Chris Kerr and Rob A. Mackenzie.

Admission is £3 at the door. The raffle is £1. There will be seasonal treats. The bar will be open with wine and soft drinks. Readings start sharp at 7.30pm. Come along!

[image by Xavier Romero-Frias / Creative Commons]