Poetry to read if you're travelling to the Edinburgh Book Festival

07 August 2014

Are you off to the Edinburgh Book Festival this August? Here are my picks of poetry books set in and inspired by Scotland.

Byssus by Jen Hadfield


Discover the sea, shore and moor of the Shetlands through Jen Hadfield’s beautiful, attentive poetry. Watch this short film about Jen’s life as a poet and the writing of this collection here.

Jen Hadfield - A Writing Life from Scottish Poetry Library on Vimeo.

Jen will be appearing at the Edinburgh Book Festival on Monday 18 August 2014.

 The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie


This prize-winning collection is deeply rooted in the landscape of Scotland. It takes up the question so central to Jamie's essays: ‘How are we to live?’.

 The Wrecking Light by Robin Robertson


Robin Robertson is from the north-east of Scotland. This collection, full of retellings and translations, includes the disturbing, unforgettable and mythic ‘At Roane Head’ read here by the poet.

Robin Robertson will be speaking about his work at the Edinburgh Book Festival on Sunday 17 August 2014

Grain by John Glenday

 
Not only an essential Scottish poet, but an essential poet, as the beginning of 'Etching of a Line of Trees' will testify:

I carved out the careful absence of a hill and a hill grew.
I cut away the fabric of the trees
and the trees stood shivering in the darkness.

Fiere by Jackie Kay


A collection exploring the extraordinary story of Jackie Kay’s search for her Nigerian and Highland birth-parents, I love the combination of Scots and Igbo speech in these poems. 

Jackie is doing several events at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Do you have any other recommendations? We'd love to hear them.