YES, Scotland's most misleadingly named poetry night is returning to Leith Festival for the fifth year running and to the Persevere bar for the third. Four contrasting poets - Gerda Stevenson, Marjorie Lotfi Gill, Patrick James Errington and Rex Sweeny - will read their work to a admiring throng, with interjections by various musicians. The cost of admission is £3. Doors open at 6.30pm and it's worth arriving early to make sure of a seat. The event begins at 7.00pm, will have one interval, and should end around 9.15pm. The address of the Persevere is 398 Easter Road, Edinburgh EH6 8HT. Details of some of the performers follow…
GERDA STEVENSON is one of Scotland's most distinguished actresses, winning a BAFTA Scotland Best Actress award in 1993 for her performance in the film Blue Black Permanent. She's also the founder of Stellar Quines (Scotland's leading women's theatre company), a dramatist and radio scriptwriter, a director, a singer-songwriter and an increasingly admired poet. Her first collection of poems, If this were Real, appeared in 2013 and was hailed by Ron Butlin in the Sunday Herald as "The best of the new in contemporary Scottish poetry - not to be missed." More recently she's been acclaimed for her collection Quines: Poems in tribute to women of Scotland (Luath Press, 2018) which was described by Lesley Riddoch as "a vivid explosion of thought, description and bold opinion…a wonderful, life-affirming book." Gerda's website is here.
Daughter of an Iranian father and an American mother, MARJORIE LOTFI GILL spent half her childhood in Tehran before the family had to flee at the time of the Revolution. She then lived in San Diego, Washington DC and New York, moving to London in 1999 and to Edinburgh in 2005. Her poetry has been widely published and performed (not least on BBC Radio 4). Last year Tapsalteerie Press published her collection Refuge, containing poems reflecting on her experiences in Iran. Beth McDonough said of it: "Marjorie Lotfi Gill writes spell-bindingly well, her lines mapping four generations and three continents, her craft worthy of her story." Marjorie has facilitated hundreds of creative writing workshops for the public and is the founder of Open Book, promoting reading groups for the vulnerable and for adults in the community; she also chairs the Trustees of the Wigtown Book Festival. Visit her website here.
PATRICK JAMES ERRINGTON has published two short collections of his poems, Glean (2018) and Field Studies (2019) as well as winning or being commended for several international prizes. Canadian-born, he studied at the universities of Alberta, Columbia and St Andrews, doing a doctorate at St Andrews in poetic theory and enactive hermeneutics under the supervision of Don Paterson and John Burnside. The latter calls Patrick "a real find", adding that "the scope of his imagination, combined with psychological integrity and linguistic rigour, mark him out as a poet I'll return to again and again." He's also a translator from English into French and a former copy editor on the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, and presently teaches at several Scottish universities. Learn more here.
If REX SWEENY had a friend, they'd probably both look like this.
The CULTFUSION MUSICIANS are very well indeed, thank you, and there is nothing remotely strange about them and no cause for concern.
We very much hope you'll be able to join us for what promises to be a rather special evening.