All items: Hugh MacDiarmid

Fifty years after taking part in his first poetry reading as a schoolboy, Brian McCabe reflects on what reading his work aloud means to him, and how communicating directly with an audience in this way has helped to shape his writing.

Donny O’Rourke visits old haunts in Dumfries and the Borders, ghosted by the bards of Scotland’s past, for the liminal Celtic festival of Samhain.

Julian Turner considers the usefulness of imagination, not just to the writer, but also to the exile and the abused child, and suggests that metaphorical thinking may be psychologically essential.

As a young poet, Gerry Cambridge was inspired and encouraged by the handwritten letters he received from other poets. As letters become increasingly a rarity in an age of email, he reflects on the ways in which these ‘joys of earth’ could once, and can still, nourish a writing life.
Gerry Cambridge recalls the beautiful austerity of his early days, when he lived in a caravan in rural Ayrshire and wrote poetry — alongside articles for Reader’s Digest. His monkish inclinations, he discovered, had limits.

Ron Butlin explains the role of the Edinburgh Makar, describing how he came to the job and his varied experiences as a civic poet in the Athens of the North.

Gerry Cambridge speaks with Kona Macphee about his route into writing, living simply and the pleasures of editorship.