Monday, August 11, 2008

The Scottish Poetry Library

Rob and Colin have put me on to this excellent resource site, The Scottish Poetry Library. In its own words it is "the place for poetry in Scotland, for the regular reader, the serious student or the casual browser.Since its foundation in 1984 it has amassed a remarkable collection of written works, as well as tapes and videos. The emphasis is on contemporary poetry written in Scotland, in Scots, Gaelic and English, but historic Scottish poetry and contemporary works from almost every part of the world feature too."

In amongst the exciting goodies that it offers, there's a Reading Room, where they ask different poets to name their 'classic' poems along with reasons why.
Rob talks about Milton's "Paradise Lost", where "Satan gets the best lines;" Claire Askew recalls her childhood amazement at Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky," with its "weird, wonderful, onomatopoeic words;" and Colin Will reveals the "underlying subtleties" of Robbie Burn's "A Red, Red Rose. These are just three of many poets that have taken up the challenge of the 'classic' poem: Vicki Feaver, Billy Liar and many other well-known poets are there.

There's also a feature called the Favourite Poems, where you will find poets like Simon Armitage, Jackie Kay, Michael Hofmann and Michael Longley talking about selections of poetry that they admire. Happy days for anyone wanting to while away a few hours reading and learning about poetry.


Rachel Fox said...

Colin's piece on the Burns poem/song is fascinating. I will certainly see something different next time I hear or read it. Burns is the name I most often throw in when having...exchanges about song lyrics and poetry (even though I have a long way to go before I know even a tiny a bit about all Burns wrote!).

Interesting to look through some of the favourite poems too. My, that Simon Armitage has some fancy profile pics...very GQ and moody. The whole thing of writers and photos is quite weird though...I almost wish we didn't have to see them all the time...they always look so...awkward!

BarbaraS said...

Heh, that is true, Rachel. Armitage looks so intense in that picture - almost as if he's annoyed about something.

Tell you one thing though, I hate having my picture taken for things like that, because I always seem to look awkward. Maybe it's a writer thing! We've revealed enough in words, and now we have to reveal a shiny happy side for promo purposes... perhaps that's why he looks annoyed. :/

Rachel Fox said...

Yes writers rarely do well in the photo field...they either look too happy and gay or too moody and intense (black polo necks etc.). Even worse the eternal photo in the study surrounded by books!

For me (so far) I have one old photo someone took at the folk club here and I use that most of the time (though I fear I may have to get something 'better' some time soon). I use it because it's not too close-up and it is an action shot rather than a pose! Still it's far from desirable...I'm wearing a nasty old t-shirt that some of my more fashionable friends would be appalled by. We can't win...although I like your 'in specs' picture...just the right hint of 'serious but still smiling' eyebrow action too!

Of course none of it matters...except it kind of does...a little...even if it shouldn't...