August 26, 2009

A windy toon o' cloods an' sunny glints

I got back to Amsterdam last week from Edinburgh, where I used to live. If Megan reckons the weather is bad in Amsterdam (see post below) she should think back to her time in Scotland and realise that things can be much worse, although I will concede that no light is as gorgeous as Scottish light. And it was worth stomping through the rain to see friends and sample some festival events. In the wind-blustered tents of the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Charlotte Square, I watched Tom Pow read from his book of new and selected poems In the Becoming, which I had the privilege of editing earlier this year. It was wonderful, having worked on the book by email, to hear Tom reading the poems aloud, bringing to them new resonances: they've somehow settled differently in my head now. Alan Spence, the "Glasgow Zen" poet, also read at that event and reminded me just how much I respect the haiku and tanka forms. A couple of days later I went to the launch of poet Sam Meekings' fantastic debut novel Under Fishbone Clouds and caught up with Jane McKie, whose second collection, When the Sun Turns Green was published earlier this year. Sadly, however, I just missed the second Westport Book Festival, a free, fringey counterpart to the EIBF run by lovely people. I am determined to attend it next year.

I took some copies of Versal 7 with me and am delighted that Edinburgh now has three retail stockists of Versal, as well as being in the Scottish Poetry Library. Edinburghers can now buy copies of Versal 7 in the fine establishments of Fruitmarket Gallery, Word Power and Analogue.

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