curiosity about the ways of the world

Category: Poetry in St Andrew Square

Edinburgh Makars mak mischief

At the mercy of the elements, does Henry Dundas

aloof in St Andrew Square still ponder having been

the most powerful politician of his day? Stewart Conn

Politicians come and go. While that stone-hearted rogue Henry Dundas looks down on the Christmas crowds let’s start with a moment of poetic (and blissfully Brexit-free) mischief. Here’s the very much alive and kicking Darren McGarvey…

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Turning leaves of the Poetry Tree

‘And so, let’s pause a moment here, draw strength –

and reclaim what is ours.’

Reclaiming St Andrew Square Ron Butlin

Green, gold, gone. Any day soon the leaves will turn and fall. And in a shady corner of Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square a young tree will reflect the colour of its relatives on distant mountains of Japan. Here’s a good news story for the telling. Continue reading

Where exactly is the centre of Edinburgh?

Just wondering, in the event of revolution where would Edinburgh crowds gather, where is the city square, where the city’s heart? (Twitter Mon 21 Feb 17.50)

It was an impulsive question on Twitter.  I didn’t really expect a response.  During the Arab Spring it occurred to me that Edinburgh lacks a true centre. In the unlikely event of revolutionary fever spreading through the capital, where would crowds gather? Autumn has brought an answer of sorts.

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Sweetly subversive in Castle Street


Poetry as graffiti, a brilliant combination by Banksy (picture by CodySimms)

I like to think this could be a sweetly subversive movement: poetry in motion, gently working its way into the nooks and crannies of city life; sometimes soothing, sometimes stirring.   In London this summer at least some of the 3.5 million daily passengers on the  Underground will find solace in six poems staring them in the face on the tube.  And in Edinburgh? The Poetry Garden will bloom for a day in Castle Street on Friday 16th July. Continue reading

Roses are red and dogwood is too

We’re planting in the Poetry Garden today so it’s not good to wake to a small blizzard swirling outside the window. But, would you believe it, by the time we carry our poems to St Andrew Square the sky is blue, the sun is shining and the snow is a perfect background for bright red dogwood fluttering with poetry.  Continue reading

Here and (not) there


here, there and gone: where?

Home is a controversial word for Iyad Hayatleh, a Palestinian poet who was born in a Syrian refugee camp. “The most controversial word of my life,” he told us. He has never been to Palestine but to mark Refugee Week, Iyad read poems about home in Arabic and English as we gathered round a dead tree in Edinburgh’s Poetry Garden.  Continue reading

Lost World replaced


The next instant it was gone – and so was our dinner. Ed Malone in the Lost World

Hot foot in the snow to St Andrew Square to check poetry stakes are still in place. So far so good, though last week I obviously blogged too soon. The Lost World vanished from the garden within a day of me writing about it. Prose, poetry, pictures and willow stakes: gone without trace. Continue reading

Open and shut


And so, let’s pause a moment here, draw strength – and reclaim what is ours. Ron Butlin

It was a fine affair: a red carpet, a string quartet, speeches from private and public bodies, a poem composed for the occasion, and fizzy wine to wash it all down. But, rather oddly, the official opening of St Andrew Square was closed to the public. I was in a hurry or I would have stopped to take a photograph of the sign on the locked gates. It didn’t seem quite the right spirit to celebrate an otherwise generous and welcoming space. Ron Butlin’s poem, on the other hand, was perfect. Continue reading

Poetry and politics in the city


It has happened. Thanks to a great group of people led by Ewan, a fantasy lurking at the back of my mind has made it into real life. Yesterday in the Scottish Poetry Library, a treasure of a place tucked out of sight down a close in the Royal Mile, a cluster of literary souls signed up to a brave new creative adventure bang smack in the middle of commercial Edinburgh. Some odd political sensitivity requires us to call it Poetry in St Andrew Square but the people who made it happen know it simply as The Poetry Garden. Continue reading

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