Plans for National Poetry Day? This Thursday, October 8th!

Live1National Poetry Day is nearly upon us! Thought I’d be a bit poetry-festive and make a day of it.

Here’s what I’m planning to do on the day (despite having to go to work, which isn’t even remotely poetry-related…)


12:00am: I’m going to wake up at midnight and write until I have to get ready for work. Seriously. This is the plan anyhow, will keep you posted on when I actually manage to get up! Have a number of things I’m wanting to work on and the house is so quiet (the middle of the night after all). Fingers crossed. (Might take some tips from Michael if I get stuck.)

7:30am: Meant to be sunrise at 7:30 tomorrow, and as the theme for NPD this year is ‘Light’, I’ll head up to the local hill and watch the sunrise with a thermos of tea and something to write with! And an umbrella, this is Scotland after all…

9:00am: I’ve got to work, but can listen to music at my desk, so thought I’d keep it festive and have lined up a number of podcasts, recordings and such that I’ll listen to either live or backdated, including:

12:00pm: Lunch! Is there somewhere poetry-themed I can eat? The Blind Poet? Tips welcome!

  • Might peruse the Book Week Scotland schedule on my break & book in for some poetry events?
  • Definitely looking forward to seeing who wins the Big Words Edinburgh competition!
  • Will head out and see if I can find the Scottish Poetry Library’s poetry postcards around town.

5:00pm: Pass the time on my bus ride home with poetry apps (as usual?) – my go-to is the Poetry Foundation app which is available offline as well. Poetry Daily has a good app too. Poetry in your pocket all the time!

6:00pm: Poetry over dinner? I haven’t checked out the BBC’s Contains Strong Language, but looks like lots of great shows to choose from!

10:00pm: Poetry before bed! Will read from the bedside table pile until I zonk.

Other Activities in Edinburgh/Online

News & Resources

Have a fun and poetry-filled day!

‘Cassowary’ in Ink Sweat & Tears

tumblr_n9xwvlc4Q71tqcqb6o1_540Very excited to say that my poem, Cassowary, was published on Ink, Sweat & Tears today!

Have a gander if you fancy it. Thanks kindly to Helen Ivory for including it!

About IS&T

Ink Sweat & Tears is a UK based webzine which publishes and reviews poetry, prose, prose-poetry, word & image pieces and everything in between. Their tastes are eclectic and magpie-like and they aim to publish something new every day.

‘Moon Man’ in Dactyl

dactylExcited to say my poem ‘Moon Man’ will be included in Dactyl III, the ‘Origins & Elements’ themed issue. So chuffed! A wee shout out to the zine from their website:

Dactyl is a new, Scottish-based publication for poetry, prose, illustration and photography. In April 2013 we issued a call for entries seeking original, contemporary work responding to the theme ‘Lost & Found’. Our very first issue (our baby!) was launched in Edinburgh in November 2013, and includes never-before-seen work from 21 contributors. Dactyl 1 is available to buy now.

Dactyl’s second issue, Time & Space, was launched on 15 August 2014, and is currently sold out, awaiting stock.

The launch event in Edinburgh will be in September, but you can pick up a printed copy from 15th August at the Edinburgh International Book Festival bookshop. EIBF #shelfies to come!

Full Disclosure, aka Fact Check yo’self

I often wonder, in the world of a poem, how factually accurate it needs to be, or how much scope I have to interpret as I see fit. #poetguilt

My ‘Moon Man’ poem is about an astronaut who has returned to earth after his space mission. I was inspired by an interview I’d read with an ISS astronaut. His line about seeing 16 sunsets/sunrises a day, from the ISS rotating around the earth, got my gears turning!

I built the poem around this line, but over the course of it, (and including the title), it turned into a poem about an astronaut returning from the moon. BUT, on the moon, the sun rises and sets over the course of 2 earth-weeks. (So the earth would experience ~14 sunrises/sets in the time the moon would experience 1 rise/set.) Thus, the 16 sunsets for one of yours line isn’t factually accurate… but I kept it. I felt like, ‘One sunset/sunrise for 14 of yours’, didn’t resonate as strongly… Difficult! I mean, (taking from another line in the poem) the moon is also not a million miles from earth (its ~200k miles). But perhaps ‘a million miles’ is hyperbole for ‘really far’ and therefore acceptable?

Maybe I should have changed the line, called the poem ‘Space Man’, made it perfectly accurate. What do you reckon? Poetic licence? Any budding astrophysicists notice anything else I missed?

Hope you’ll go and check out a copy and let me know what you think!