The amazing East Lothian Library Service set up a programme for me to visit a library each day from Monday 27 November to Saturday 2 December, to meet people for a chat over a cuppa and biscuits, and to read a few poems from ‘Salt & Soil’. The exception was Thursday, when a group of P5s from Campie School, Musselburgh came to the library for my presentation on the voyage with clipper ship City of Adelaide over the winter of 2013/14. It’s so lovely to share that experience, and the pupils were absolutely brilliant.
I am very grateful to East Lothian Libraries Service for setting up a ‘Salt & Soil’ Book Tour during Book Week Scotland, 27 November – 3 December. During the week I shall be visiting several libraries who put in a request for a visit following an email communication from the Service.
A special request came from Musselburgh Library for a talk on my voyage with clipper ship City of Adelaide for a group of P5 pupils. I am so looking forward to giving them a presentation with images from the voyage.
I was so thrilled to have my East Lothian Launch of ‘Salt & Soil’ on 26 October 2017 in Hecla Gallery, Cockenzie House & Gardens, Edinburgh Road, Cockenzie. Over the last several years I’ve held events there, and attended a few too. I love the environment, there is so much to see with frequently changing exhibitions and craft items in the shop, and the folk that run it are friendly, welcoming and very helpful. Yvonne Murphy is involved with the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry which inspired the poem ‘Diaspora’ in the booklet. I brought 3 panels of the Diaspora Tapestry back from Adelaide when I went back there in May 2014 for clipper ship City of Adelaide‘s 150th birthday party. (see Category ‘City of Adelaide’ on my website.)
L-R Trevor Powell, former Chief of Port Adelaide Caledonian Society, Rosemary McKay who organised the stitchers around Adelaide, me, Hon. Piper for City of Adelaide, Des Ross, Commander of Clan Ross in Australia.
The room was packed to capacity for the launch. Some friends were there, as well as with new faces. I was already on my second print run, having sold most, and outsourced the remainder of the first batch.
This beautiful handcrafted desk later became my signing table.
I took along my clarsach and played my composition ‘City of Adelaide : Farewell to Scotland’ to start off the evening. I ended with accompanying myself on ‘The Herrin Trail’.
Edinburgh and Glasgow launches will be announced in the near future.
We’re back! Each month at Hear Hare Here, we’ll be bringing you three of our favourite poetic voices in a cornucopia of verse, MCed by our very own bookseller and poetry lover Alice Tarbuck. Flee the darkening evenings and join us as we light up the night with words, with readings and performances from the glorious Freddie Alexander, the oh so lovely Janette Ayachi and a mystery guest to be announced! Pick up a glass of wine on arrival and, as no poetry night is complete without a raffle, take a chance of winning a blind date with a book…
Frederick “Freddie” Alexander is a writer and events organiser based in Edinburgh. Since 2013 he has been an organiser and host of the Inky Fingers Open Mic night, and has been an organiser of various other Edinburgh poetry nights. Freddie is a freelance writer for Broadway Baby, ScotsGay, and Flint & Pitch. He works for the National Library of Scotland.
Janette Ayachi is a Scottish-Algerian poet. She collaborates with artists, has been shortlisted for a few chewable accolades, and has performed her work on BBC radio, as well as at events across the UK. She is the author of poetry pamphlets Pauses at Zebra Crossings and A Choir of Ghosts, and a children’s chapter book The Mermaid, The Girl and The Gondola. She is currently working on a memoir titled Misdialing The Muses.
RITA BRADD is published since 2007 in a number of anthologies, and has read in many venues. In
2016 at StAnza – the Scottish International Poetry Festival held in St Andrew’s – her poem ‘City of
Adelaide Bleeds’ was a film installation.
‘Salt and Soil’ is Rita’s debut pamphlet, published in August 2017. Rita is completing her book on
her voyage to South Australia on a cargo ship with the oldest surviving clipper ship City of
About two years ago I began preparing a collection of poems for my first poetry pamphlet, having been invited by a publisher. Things fell through at final edit stage, so …
… the pamphlet has now been published by ‘CrawsNest Press’, my own little Press, which I am thrilled about. It’s been quite a learning curve to enter the world of publishing, but very exciting and satisfying. Grateful thanks to Marjorie Lotfi Gill and Rachel McCrum for testimonials.
‘Salt & Soil’ will be launched on 26 October 2017 in Hecla Gallery, Cockenzie House and Gardens, Prestonpans, East Lothian, 7 for 7.30 pm – 9pm.
I was thrilled to be invited by Janey Nicol, P4 class teacher at Cockenzie Primary School, East Lothian, to be involved with the school’s first ever Literary Festival in February 2016. She requested a poetry workshop with P1s. With over 50 children in the group, we had lots of fun with a poem for children I wrote and used a few years ago. We messed about with props, and I showed them on flip chart paper how I illustrated the poem using skills I learned at Edinburgh College of Art summer schools over three years, with Robbie Bush and Mina Braun. http://minabraun.blogspot.co.uk/
Here are P1 doing a noisy nosey warm-up mantra, where they discover the joy of ‘sneezing’ out words, whilst also learning how to keep germs to themselves!
I was also really pleased to be able to assist in recommending authors and poets to be involved in the festival. Over the last few years I’ve been privileged to get to know poets and authors and their work. This came in really handy. Cockenzie pupils delighted us all with this ‘Thank you’ poster. We loved the imaginative, artistic way they designed it. Well done Cockenzie Primary School! I wish you well for your new academic year, with a new set of P1s joining the school as the P7s move up to secondary school.
Here I am amongst a fabulous line-up of poets and authors …
It was an absolute delight to drive to Callander for the annual Callander Poetry Weekend hosted by Sally Evans and Ian King in King’s Bookshop. It’s the first time I’ve gone for the whole weekend, and had I not made a navigational error (satnav-free car, but not for much longer!) I’d have got there for the start. As it was I caught the last of http://www.redsquirrelpress.com/ founding Editor Sheila Wakefield’s poems. You can see from the programme http://www.desktopsallye.com/page22.htm what an exciting and varied programme we enjoyed over the weekend. I was honoured to play my clarsach again (the image on Sally’s page is of me from two years ago, on the weekend when City of Adelaide was taken off the slipway at Irvine in preparation for her voyage to South Australia).
I made many new friends that weekend, and it was lovely to catch up with those I know already, including Kevin Cadwallander, who generously made the film as well as read my poem City of Adelaide Bleeds, (see below) the first of many dedicated to my special ship and our voyage together. On Sunday morning some poets gathered at the Memorial Garden along with Magi McGlynn to pay respects to the memory of Tessa Ransford – Founding Director of The Scottish Poetry Library, Elizabeth Burns – poet and good long-standing friend of Sally’s, and Ian’s, and Dominique Carton who was known to many for his excellent photographic recordings of past CPW events http://www.alba-photography.com/
Following this, several of us explored and enjoyed the beautiful vicinity, catching inspiration to write a poem relevant to the weekend. We later shared the feast of glorious words and some music in Sally and Ian’s magical garden where the sun continued to shine on us, the chickens clucked and a dog barked their appreciation, and one of us was lucky enough to be stung by one of their bees. Obviously not a fan of poetry! See also https://paulbeech.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/callander-poetry-weekend-2015/
I left Callander enriched by the wonderful hospitality, company, words, music, laughter, congeniality and environment.
With thanks to Sally and Ian for giving us this very special Callander weekend to put in our calendars!