Scotland is famous for its historically influential poets. Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Sorley MacLean and many other English-language, Scots, and Gaelic writers have made this nation a veritable mecca for classical verse. However, according to Colin Waters at the Scottish Poetry Library, Scotland’s poetry culture is not just a historic matter.
“This is a fantastic time to be interested in Scottish poetry.In fact, I would say right now if you’re interested in Scottish literature, what you should concentrate on is the poetry… it’s where the main energy and innovation is coming from.”
And the Scottish Poetry Library is a major player in this innovation. Set in a beautifully designed building right off the Royal Mile, this institution aims to provide much more than books to the Scottish public. It’s a community for readers and poets alike, providing a variety of workshops, and events on reading and writing poetry.
In addition to these “in-house” resources, the library also uses a newly-revamped website to provide information about poetry to people in remote locations. It features a daily poem, blog posts, and guides for reading and writing poetry. Colin also says the library is developing as well as several poetry podcasts featuring poet interviews, news about the poetry industry, and poetry readings.
“In addition to the website, we’ve got a twitter feed with over nine thousand followers and a facebook page. We’re basically putting ourselves out in the world, because we don’t want poetry to be a cloistered, pale, sickly creature which only comes out at weddings and funerals. We want poetry to be a vital, vibrant part of the community.”