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]

Vespers #21 – November 2018

Corbett, Hollander, Davies

Vespers #21, Tuesday 6 November 2018, 7.15pm, Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT

It should be a special night at the Scottish Poetry Library for Vespers 21. Readings start at 7.30pm sharp – the 7.15pm above is just an encouragement to get there in good time 🙂 . This is a line-up you may never see in Edinburgh again, so don’t miss it!

Sarah Corbett
Jodie Hollander
Sian Robinson Davies
Matthew Sweeney tribute –

Sarah Corbett‘s fifth collection, ‘A Perfect Mirror’, (Pavilion Poetry/Liverpool University Press, 2018) explores questions of belonging in an unsettled world in poems set in the West Yorkshire landscape and the Lake District, and was Highly Commended in this year’s Forward Poetry Prizes. She published a verse-novel, ‘And She Was’, with Pavilion Poetry in 2015, and has three previous collections with Seren Books. Her work has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot and Forward Prizes and is widely translated and anthologised. Sarah works regularly on projects with other artists, writers and filmmakers, most recently ‘Dorothy’s Colour’ with the visual artist Zoe Benbow in collaboration with The Wordsworth Trust, and currently ‘Deer, Woman, Child’ with the filmmaker Gabrielle Russell. Sarah lives in West Yorkshire and teaches Creative Writing for Lancaster University.

Jodie Hollander was raised in a family of classical musicians. She studied poetry in England, and her work has been published in journals such as The Poetry Review, The Yale Review, PN Review, The Dark Horse, The Rialto, Verse Daily, The New Criterion, Australia’s Best Poems of 2011, and Australia’s Best Poems of 2015. Her debut full-length collection, ‘My Dark Horses’, is published with Pavilion Poetry/Liverpool University Press in the UK and Oxford University Press in the US. Hollander is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, a Hawthornden Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in Italy, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She currently lives in Colorado.

Siân Robinson Davies is an artist and comedian based in Edinburgh whose work encompasses performance, writing and video. She graduated from Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2007 and Applied Linguistics at Birbeck College, University of London in 2011. Her latest book is ‘Naked and Practical’, a collection of short stories, scenes and fragments about how people come to know what it is that they want. In each chapter the characters do their best to communicate, negotiating each other using language and their bodies.

We’ll also be reading a few poems in tribute to Irish poet, Matthew Sweeney, who died on 5 August this year from Motor Neurone Disease. His most recent collection is ‘My Life as a Painter’ (Bloodaxe, 2018) –

Hosts will be Jane Bonnyman, Chris Kerr and Rob A. Mackenzie. Raffle tickets are £1 each. Entry at the door is £3.

Vespers 5: ‘Love-In/Love Out’ – Tuesday 14 February

A slightly different format this month for Valentine’s Day. We have invited 12 poets to: a) read their favourite poem on the theme of love and b) write and read a new poem inspired by quotations from the likes of Shakespeare, Blake, Sappho and Catullus. There may be romance, break-up, passion, bitterness, sex and jealousy. And there will be poems too.
Your MCs will be Jane Bonnyman and Rob A. Mackenzie. Entry is £3, payable at the door.

The line-up will be:

Janette Ayachi
Jane Bonnyman
Anne Laure Coxam
Sally Evans
Harry Josephine Giles
Jane Goldman
Russell Jones
Hannah Lavery
Rob A. Mackenzie
Colin McGuire
Roy Moller
Finola Scott