Schedule

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  • Day 1

    15th October 2021

  • Day 2

    16th October 2021

  • Day 3

    17th October 2021

  • A Poetry Mile: Walking Tours is a free web app-based spoken word series of self-led bespoke poetry walks which encourage users to experience their city differently, filtered through the eyes and ears of some of our finest poets. Each route is individually generated according to user needs and preferences, and presents a personalised series of poems tailored to these specifics, which accompany the walker on their custom-created map.

    It features poetry from Esa Aldegheri, Janette Ayachi, Helen Boden, Ken Cockburn, Christine De Luca, Miriam Gamble, Harry Josephine Giles, Marjorie Lotfi, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Russell Jones, Hannah Lavery, Jenny Lindsay, Pàdraig MacAoidh / Peter Mackay, Theresa Muñoz, Andrés N Ordorica, Michael Pedersen, Alycia Pirmohamed, Ellen Renton, Julia Sorensen, Alan Spence, Samuel Tongue, and JL Williams.

    The app will be available from 1 October for the whole year!
    Out and About
    Where
    Off-Site

  • Newspeak (2019) visualises the words of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four as if they were commodities on a stock exchange. Using live data scraped from Google Ads, the text of the book scrolls across the screen as ticker-tape. The fluctuating prices of the words are determined by what they are worth to Google in the context of an advert. The project critiques the power held by tech giants as mediators of information in an age of linguistic capitalism. Evoking Orwell’s vision of Newspeak as a language that 'could only be used for one purpose', the project suggests that in a digital age, language is controlled and restricted by economic incentives, with similarly dystopian political consequences. Newspeak (2019) was shortlisted for the 2020 Lumen Prize for Art and Technology in the AI category and was awarded an honourable mention in the Surveillance Studies Network Biennial Art Competition (2020). In this bespoke iteration of Newspeak for Push the Boat Out, Pip calculates the value of the work presented by our participating festival poets, asking What are words worth in a digital age? Join us as the artist discusses her practice and the interrogation - and co-opting - of language in turbulent times.

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  • In this two-part workshop, Scotland's Makar Kathleen Jamie will guide participants through writing poetry (12:00-1:30pm), and bookbinding wizard Rachel Hazell will help participants to ‘bind’ their new work as book art (3:00-4:30pm). Kathleen Jamie will focus on the process of translating thoughts into words on a page and Rachel Hazell will help participants make that page into something beautifully, uniquely, and vulnerably personal. Our one request: You come to Kathleen Jamie’s session prepared with a natural object to write about. Otherwise, all supplies will be provided. A unique and unusual opportunity; get tickets fast. Please note: this workshop is in two parts with a break in the middle for lunch. Please bring your own refreshments.

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  • Open Book groups write together in community settings across Scotland – from Ullapool to Eyemouth, and from the islands off Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway - with groups running in English, Gaelic, Scots and Arabic. Push the Boat Out has partnered with Open Book to help run workshops and engage participants in not only collaborative multilingual writing, but collaborative multilingual performance. Join us at this Open Book showcase where Open Book participants will present group poems inspired by Edwin Morgan’s poem 'At Eighty' and John Glenday’s poem 'The Great Silence'. In 'At Eighty', Morgan gives us the unforgettable line which we've borrowed for our festival title: 'Push the boat out, compañeros, whatever the sea'. The Open Book writers have certainly done that. Rich in beautiful imagery and feeling, this will be a performance guaranteed to enthuse and inspire.

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  • Commissioned by Push the Boat Out, Alec Finlay has composed a poetic manifesto on the importance of urban green space during the pandemic. With specific reference to the urban croft in Leith, it discusses how green space is integral to addressing pandemic politics, culture, and healing. The manifesto takes up the work of previous projects on disability access, urban rewilding, and minor walks published over the past three years. The final artwork consists of 20 tri-colour, hand-painted posters, produced using a risograph printer. Finlay's work contributes to a culture of recuperation. Hear him discuss this timely project and read from its poems in this artist talk.

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  • Poetry Showcase 1

    01 ‘What’s Wrong With Raymond’ (Ray Antrobus) 6’30
    02 ‘Beauty In Silence’ (African animation) 1’48
    03 ‘Ashes To Fire’ (Roger Robinson) 3’48
    04 ‘50 Ways To Wank’ (Hollie McNish animation)
    05 ‘Havergay’ (Roseanne Watt) 3’48
    06 ‘Neroli Kiss’ (Andres Orderica animation) 2’48
    07 ‘Why You Should Read Sylvia Plath’ (TedTalk) 4’45
    08 ‘Parent Bench’ 1’11 (Hollie McNish animation) 1’11
    09 ‘Flowers For Kate’ (Roddy Lumsden/Kate Moss) 1’26
    10 ‘Obsidian Black’ (African animation) 1’39
    11 ‘Image Of Here and Now’ (Sacha Callaghan) 30’00

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  • The Poetry Food Exchange is an installation which simultaneously challenges perceptions of transaction in both food and literature and encourages collaborative sharing. Sean Wai Keung, a Glasgow-based poetry, performance and food-maker, is in charge of the Exchange. Patrons will write down a memory or experience to do with food, and in return they will receive a fortune cookie with a line of poetry inside as well as a cup of warm broth. After this face-to-face interaction, these memories and experiences will then be strung around the venue, forming a 3-dimensional poem with which audiences can interact as much or as little as they like. Meet Sean Wai Keung as he discusses the installation with poems, and reflects on community, food and narrative.

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  • Poetry Showcase 2

    01 ‘Between Islands’ (Roseanne Watt) 6’20
    02 ‘The Man With Beautiful Eyes’ (Bukowski animation) 5’42
    03 ‘Men Talk (Liz Lochhead) 1’37
    04 ‘Finding Strength in Chaos’ (African animation) 1’42
    05 ‘Hugh MacDiarmid’ (Margaret Tait) 8’13
    06 ‘Amor’ (Andres Ordorica animation) 1’11
    07 ‘Benacchie’ (Andres Ordorica animation) 1’11
    08 ‘When Among Trees’ (Mary Oliver) 1’37
    09 ‘Blood Grandad’ (Hollie McNish animation) 2’00
    10 ‘Unrelated Incidents’ (Tom Leonard) 6’50
    11 ‘How To Be Alone’ (Padriag O Tuama animation) 2’54
    12 ‘This Script’ (Jenny Lindsay) 3’22
    13 ‘ Pretty Pink Baggage (African animation) 2’00
    14 ‘Autism’ (Roddy Lumsden) 4’15
    15 ‘The Island That’s Hard To Find In English’ (Ray Antrobus) 4’09
    16 ‘Future Visions Of Our Planet’ (Kae Tempest)’ 4’19

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  • ‘POETRY’ (2010, South Korean
    Directed by Lee Chang-Dong
    Running Time: 2hr 19m
    Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

    The untapped poetry in the lives of ordinary people, leading seemingly ordinary lives, is expressed as high art in this gentle story of an aging woman who discovers the poetry within herself. Heartbreaking and inspiring but without an ounce of sentimentality, Yun Junghee’s memorable performance as Mija, whose life becomes ever more complicated by circumstances out-with her control, is as understated as it is powerful.

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  • And what a year (and a bit) it has been! Push the Boat Out seeks to celebrate and interrogate the role that poetry plays in helping us reflect on, challenge, and make sense of the world around us. In Poems from a Dangerous Year, some of our finest poets will do just that, selecting and presenting work that considers the past tumultuous 18 months. Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Roseanne Watt, Nick Makoha and Caroline Bird will be joined by Jamaican poet laureate Lorna Goodison (livestreamed) to guide us through poetry which has shaped and illuminated their dangerous year. With music specially commissioned for the Edwin Morgan Centenary from Esther Swift, join us for the very first Opening Night of the very first Push the Boat Out: Edinburgh's International Poetry Festival.

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  • A Poetry Mile: Walking Tours is a free web app-based spoken word series of self-led bespoke poetry walks which encourage users to experience their city differently, filtered through the eyes and ears of some of our finest poets. Each route is individually generated according to user needs and preferences, and presents a personalised series of poems tailored to these specifics, which accompany the walker on their custom-created map.

    It features poetry from Esa Aldegheri, Janette Ayachi, Helen Boden, Ken Cockburn, Christine De Luca, Miriam Gamble, Harry Josephine Giles, Marjorie Lotfi, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Russell Jones, Hannah Lavery, Jenny Lindsay, Pàdraig MacAoidh / Peter Mackay, Theresa Muñoz, Andrés N Ordorica, Michael Pedersen, Alycia Pirmohamed, Ellen Renton, Julia Sorensen, Alan Spence, Samuel Tongue, and JL Williams.

    The app will be available from 1 October for the whole year!
    Out and About
    Where
    Off-Site

  • The world of poetry criticism is often a turbulent place. Who is reviewed, who does the reviewing, the role of prizes and what constitutes ‘quality’, the role of the critic, who is being excluded or amplified - we’ve come a long way from ‘but does it rhyme…’. Naush Sabah is the editor of Poetry Birmingham, one of the most dynamic and inspiring new journals in poetryland. Gerry Cambridge has been a poet, editor and observer of Scottish letters for more than thirty years, at the helm of the eminent Dark Horse. Colin Herd is a poet and lecturer at University of Glasgow and has published five ambitious, analytical, and satisfying poetry collections. Join them to investigate the issues in contemporary poetry criticism.
    Artist Talks & Installations / Readings & Discussions
    Where
    Demo

  • How many shapes are present in this jiyuritsu (free-form haiku)?

    pin back the tent door
    - full moon
    above Suilven

    Poetry shares a place in language where we get as close as possible to uttering what is apparently impossible to represent linguistically. How does poetry adequately articulate an affect, a feeling? How can words – and languages – meet or fail to meet this challenge? How does a poem shape what our mind visualises?

    Using a multilingual framework, haiku, and concrete poetry, Kevin MacNeil will explore the subtle ways poems build meaning by interacting with sound and, above all, resonant, though sometimes hidden, shape. Feel free to bring your own language backgrounds into the mix to discover how poetry can make meaning quietly but lastingly transcendent.

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  • Fiona Benson’s astonishing poems, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize are searing in their intensity. Tearing through Greek mythology, power, violence, and feminism, her work is at times gruesome, unsparing and almost unbearably moving.

    Andrew McMillan’s explorations of contemporary masculinity, gay experience, and male bodies in Physical and Playtime have made an indelible impression on UK poetry. His new collection Pandemonium is a powerful illustration of the ways in which poetry can narrate and illuminate the most difficult of experiences with humanity and grace. Two truly unique voices in poetry - not to be missed.

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  • Poetry has been a source of consolation and solace, community and reflection since time immemorial. How does poetry provide healing and recovery? What can poetry do like no other art form? Or does framing poetry in this way suggest saccharine Hallmark nonsense? Four leading poets - Billy Letford, John Glenday, Clare Pollard and Tawona Sithole - dive in, sharing their own work and other poems which have healed their souls.

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  • Skittles, Scran & Stanzas
    with Michael Pedersen, Janette Ayachi, Peter Mackay

    —includes a pub lunch, a drink, three readings, the chance for eternal skittling glory— In honour of the Poetry Mile interactive poem-y app, we bring you a one-off celebration reading, feasting and game of skittles. The venue, of course, Scotland’s oldest inn—The Sheep Heid, situated in the historic Duddingston Village. A short game of skittles will be punctuated by readings from three prize-winning, Edinburgh-based poets and contributors to the app: Michael Pedersen, Janette Ayachi, and Peter McKay, one of the three having being Chief Pin Monkey at this very skittle alley for a period of their youth. Each of the three will offer a unique take on Edinburgh’s historic centre and the faces, places, and curious cases that furnish its craggy gradients. ‘[The Sheep Heid is] a firm favourite among past monarchs and poets, and Scotland's oldest surviving watering hole exudes charm and character from every nook and cranny’. A collective walk from Summerhall to The Sheep Heid Inn (approximately 40 minutes) will precede the event for any ticket holders that wish to join and experience The Poetry Mile App en route to the event. Or simply enjoy the walk and soak up the majesty of the gargantuan extinct volcano that towers over Edinburgh and Duddingston Village beyond.
    *Poetic tips on skittling are included.
    **Strikes alas are available only at your own discretion.

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  • Endlessly inventive, the late great Edwin Morgan published 'Virtual and Other Realities' in 2011, challenging convention and pushing the boat out to the last. Join this panel for a more on-the-nose exploration of one of the themes of our festival, with a focus on the 'other realities' revealed in the poetry of three very contemporary writers - Sam Riviere, Suzannah Evans and Nicky Melville, chaired by Scott J Lawrie. An antidote, perhaps, to the notion elsewhere in the program that poetry is an endless source of consolation and balm for the soul, their works are at times dystopian, at others surreal, but all carefully puncture the notion that there is a fixed or singular way of existing in and interpreting the world around us.

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  • Poetry is a space of dissonance and reckoning. In this event presented by the Obsidian Foundation, a retreat for black poets of African descent who want to advance their writing practice, Raymond Antrobus does us the unique honour of launching his most recent publication, All the Names Given.

    Antrobus's accolades are endless: In 2019 he became the first ever poet to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre. He has been shortlisted for the Griffin Prize and Forward Prize and also received the Ted Hughes Award, The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, PBS Winter Choice, A Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, Somerset Maugham Award and The Guardian Poetry Book Of The Year Award. He is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Complete Works 3, Jerwood Compton and the Royal Society of Literature. He is also one of the world's first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word Education from Goldsmiths University.

    Join us as Antrobus's friends, Malika Booker and Nick Makoha, launch All the Names Given, interrogating identity, language, memory, place, and (mis)communication. This event will be BSL signed.

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  • This takeover examining eco-politics and the climate crisis is hosted by Katy Hastie and Calum Rodger of Gutter Magazine. Gutter is an award-winning print journal for fiction and poetry from writers born or living in Scotland, and featuring literature from around the world. Just as Gutter focusses on publishing energetic and ambitious Scottish writing in an international context, so too will performances by Maria Sledmere and Lady Red Ego electrify and captivate. Gutter Editor Shehzar Doja will also present on impacts of climate change in Bangladesh.

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  • What was your first word? Did you have your own secret language as a child? What do you recall from books or rhymes you read in your early years--Quangle-Wangles, cats in hats, great green rooms with balloons where you said ‘goodnight mush’?

    Adult poets are often afraid to experiment with onomatopoeia, alliteration, neologisms or nonsense, thinking they belong in children’s poems. In this session Clare Pollard, poet and author of Fierce Bad Rabbits: The Tales Behind Children’s Picture Books, will challenge this and delve into poets who draw powerfully on the language of childhood, from Ted Hughes to Rita Dove. Expect temporary lapses from grown-up burdens with lots of exercises and the chance to write about your own memories through fantasy, silliness and play.

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  • It is a film-poem? Is it a poem-film? Either way, it is fabulous: come and see for yourself. This is the work of children from Murrayburn Primary School who - facilitated by poet Colin McGuire - wrote a beautiful group poem and then made a short film of it. Join us to find out more about engaging collaboratively to make creative things happen, even working remotely during a pandemic. This project was funded by Parabola / Edinburgh Park.

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  • In a moment that is demanding you constantly choose your side, how do you find your humanity, your own voice, when you are being pushed to find safety in numbers?

    Push the Boat Out is thrilled to be able to support and develop, in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland, a brand-new live performance commission from one of Scotland's most exciting and challenging voices. In Blood, Salt, Spring Hannah Lavery (The Drift, Lament for Sheku Bayoh) journeys to discover her authenticity and her 'tribe'.

    Intergenerational trauma, in particular the legacy of colonialism, racism, and the reality of living through 2020's political and cultural shifts and shocks, and slowly make way for healing in Lavery's work. She has learned how to heal the salted wounds and move out of her winter and into spring--into hope.

    Blood, Salt, Spring will feature live performance from Hannah Lavery and award-winning musician, Beldina Odenyo. It is interwoven with Thirteen Fragments, a digital artwork commissioned as part of The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Post Covid-19 Futures Commission and co-produced by The Royal Society of Edinburgh and National Theatre of Scotland, created by Hannah Lavery with Nat McLeary, Beth Chalmers, and Beldina Odenyo.

    Written and directed by Hannah Lavery

    A National Theatre of Scotland and Push the Boat Out co-production

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  • Of all the literary artforms, poetry has perhaps suffered most from the perception of elitism, in terms of both who writes it and who reads it. But has this always been the case? How does Scotland fit into this rubric, both historically and contemporarily? How does it intersect with race and gender, and crucially, language? We survey the scene with this readings and discussion from poets Liz Berry, Ross Wilson and Victoria McNulty, expertly chaired by Jenny Lindsay.

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  • What do we revere? Cynthia Miller’s Honorifics, shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize Best Collection, is experimental and elevating, exploring family, Malaysian-American heritage, and the pull between the everyday and the miraculous. Playful and assured, her poems spark and challenge.

    Seán Hewitt, critic for the Irish Times and author of Tongues of Fire, a meditative, clarifying collection which intertwines meditations on family, loss, grief and Irish myth, is as insightful as it is lyrical. These poets help us reconsider the connections between things, and the language with which to articulate them.

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  • ‘NERUDA’ (2016, Chile)
    Directed by Pablo Larrain
    Running Time: 1hr 47%
    Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

    Director Pablo Larrain discards the standard biopic formulas and depicts a fabulously mythologised version of the great Chilean poet and activist Pablo Neruda. Told from the perspective of Neruda’s police antagonist, played sympathetically by Gael Garcia Bernal, the movie captures the spirit of the poet, his extraordinary influence on Chilean politics of the time, and fuses film noir with poetic fantasy. The cinematography is as lush as the movie is stylised.

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  • Astrid is returning home from art school on Mars looking for inspiration. Darling is fleeing a life that never fit, searching for somewhere to hide. They meet on a distant space station struggling for survival as the pace of change threatens to leave the community behind.

    Deep Wheel Orcadia is a magical first: A science-fiction verse novel written in the Orkney dialect. Push the Boat Out Festival has the absolute pleasure of hosting Harry Josephine Giles's launch for this unique adventure in poetry a mere day after their book is released. She will be joined by musician Atzi Muramatsu for an electrifying, live-scored performance from the novel. Featuring spoken word, cello, and electronics, the music and poetry strike out, with true Deep Wheel Orcadia fashion, into audacious new space.

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  • Poetry Showcase 2

    01 ‘Between Islands’ (Roseanne Watt) 6’20
    02 ‘The Man With Beautiful Eyes’ (Bukowski animation) 5’42
    03 ‘Men Talk (Liz Lochhead) 1’37
    04 ‘Finding Strength in Chaos’ (African animation) 1’42
    05 ‘Hugh MacDiarmid’ (Margaret Tait) 8’13
    06 ‘Amor’ (Andres Ordorica animation) 1’11
    07 ‘Benacchie’ (Andres Ordorica animation) 1’11
    08 ‘When Among Trees’ (Mary Oliver) 1’37
    09 ‘Blood Grandad’ (Hollie McNish animation) 2’00
    10 ‘Unrelated Incidents’ (Tom Leonard) 6’50
    11 ‘How To Be Alone’ (Padriag O Tuama animation) 2’54
    12 ‘This Script’ (Jenny Lindsay) 3’22
    13 ‘ Pretty Pink Baggage (African animation) 2’00
    14 ‘Autism’ (Roddy Lumsden) 4’15
    15 ‘The Island That’s Hard To Find In English’ (Ray Antrobus) 4’09
    16 ‘Future Visions Of Our Planet’ (Kae Tempest)’ 4’19

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  • There are those would argue that Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot were the most influential poets of the last century, revolutionising and freeing up the art of verse for all who came after them. But what about those whose poetry is written primarily to be performed, especially with music? Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for “having created new poetic expression within the great American song tradition”. And then there’s the rapper Rakim, the God MC, whose complex and intricately woven lines, lyrical flow, and patterned rhyme schemes transformed his art form, directly influencing all who came in his wake, helping turn hip hop into the most commercially successful form of poetry on the planet. Scottish rapper Solareye/Dave Hook from Stanley Odd and Caroline Bird debate the merits of the above argument with video excerpts of the artists discussed.

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  • Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) is an advocacy and professional development group for writers who identify as BAME, mixed-race or POC with a connection to Scotland. Weaving together collaborative literary partnerships, cross-arts co-creation and an intersectional approach to inclusive and participatory programming, SBWN is a sector change-maker, facilitating necessary conversations around inclusive programming in an effort to address and overcome systemic barriers. In this session curated for Push the Boat Out, the team present an hour of Healing and Recovery through film, poetry and prose from esteemed writers Bee Asha, Bhavika Govil, Nichelle Santagata and Zebib K. A., hosted by SBWN Co-director and award-winning author Dean Atta.

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  • 'THE GREAT HIPHOP HOAX’ (2013, Scotland/USA)
    Directed by Jeanie Finlay
    Running Time: 2’08
    Rotten Tomatoes 89%

    To what lengths would you go to achieve fame? A pair of Scottish chancers relocate to the epicentre of the hip hop counter-culture and pass themselves off as a Californian rap group. Their cheeky antics are hilarious yet the film shines a caustic light on the illusory nature of celebrity and the gullibility of the suited execs in the hierarchies of the music industry.

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  • Four lyrically explosive performers of poetry will prove to you that poetry transcends categorisation, that hip hop is absolutely poetry, and Scottish hip hop is absolutely world-class. This promises to be a raucous, uplifting headline show featuring force of nature and much-acclaimed performer and poet Salena Godden, Scottish Album Of The Year winner, Nova, plus fellow Scottish rapper emcees Solareye / Dave Hook of Stanley Odd and the mighty Empress, whose debut album Love Wins has been winning over all who hear it. Expect upbeat rhythmic excitations, deft flow, sharp social observations and maybe even some dancing.

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  • A Poetry Mile: Walking Tours is a free web app-based spoken word series of self-led bespoke poetry walks which encourage users to experience their city differently, filtered through the eyes and ears of some of our finest poets. Each route is individually generated according to user needs and preferences, and presents a personalised series of poems tailored to these specifics, which accompany the walker on their custom-created map.

    It features poetry from Esa Aldegheri, Janette Ayachi, Helen Boden, Ken Cockburn, Christine De Luca, Miriam Gamble, Harry Josephine Giles, Marjorie Lotfi, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Russell Jones, Hannah Lavery, Jenny Lindsay, Pàdraig MacAoidh / Peter Mackay, Theresa Muñoz, Andrés N Ordorica, Michael Pedersen, Alycia Pirmohamed, Ellen Renton, Julia Sorensen, Alan Spence, Samuel Tongue, and JL Williams.

    The app will be available from 1 October for the whole year!
    Out and About
    Where
    Off-Site

  • The Forwards are the UK and Ireland's foremost poetry prizes, celebrating the very best of contemporary poetry published in the British Isles. A week ahead of the much-anticipated announcement of this year's winners, we hear from poets on the 2021 shortlist: Kayo Chingonyi (Best Collection), Cynthia Miller (Best First Collection) and Fiona Benson (Best Single Poem). Alongside chair Michael Pedersen, the poets will discuss their work, the impact of literary prizes, and the status of British poetry today.

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  • Push the Boat Out is proud to present one of the first outings for Gail McConnell’s much anticipated book-length poem, The Sun is Open, following the acclaim of her highly unusual, liminal poems in Fourteen and Fothermather, which explored parenthood and attachment beyond biology. The Sun is Open takes a new direction entirely, exploring the death of her father in Belfast in the 1990s but with the same arresting approach – and delivery.

    When Roseanne Watt reads, you can hear a pin drop. Woven through with the language and imagery of Shetland, her poems are a soundscape, her precision is a revelation. Her dual-language debut collection, Moder Dy, was published by Polygon in May 2019. It received both an Eric Gregory and Somerset Maugham Award in 2020, and was named joint-winner of the Highland Book Prize 2019. Winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize in 2018, Roseanne Watt is one of Scotland’s finest writers and is not to be missed.

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  • We live in times of unprecedented crises, from the pandemic we've endured to the ecological devastation around us. What is the point of poetry when the world is collapsing? Can poetry help us to navigate climate doom, and maybe even help us change course? Can poetry help us understand the complexity of the world around us, help us hold nuance, shine a light on inequalities, console our grief and spur us on? Or is at all just a load of words? Poets Don Paterson, Malika Booker and Kate Fox explore the role of poetry in interesting times, looking at the very particular crises through which we're navigating our boats at present.

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  • "To love is the great amulet that makes this world a garden." - Robert Louis Stevenson

    How might we use poems - those we love and those we write - to make charms and amulets to guide and protect us? Join poet Liz Berry to read, write and use craft (of all kinds!) to create your own poetic charms.

    Berry's first book of poems, Black Country (Chatto 2014), described as a ‘sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian), received a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. Her pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and the title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018. Her new pamphlet The Dereliction, a collaboration with artist Tom Hicks, will be published by Hercules Editions this autumn.

    Writers of all stages are welcome at this playful, nurturing workshop.

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  • Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet and poetry educator who combines the personal and the political to bring the injustices of contemporary British society into sharp relief. Powerful and direct, Anthony’s work – as a writer and curator of Out-Spoken at the South Bank - has paved the way for a new generation of voices exploring diaspora and second-gen experience.

    Alycia Pirmohamed’s poetry interweaves history, both individual and collective memory, a powerfully intersectional feminism, and a deep connection to land and the natural world. Striking and precise, her poetry asks us to question how identity and lived experience inform both how we write, and how we read. Winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize 2020, Alycia’s much-anticipated debut collection Another Way to Split Water is forthcoming from Polygon.

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  • Push the Boat Out has the honour of celebrating the centenary of the late and great George Mackay Brown. GMB was a giant of Scottish letters yet had a distinctly outsider sensibility. His musicality, his blending of fable and realism, and his placement of Orkney at the centre of his world have made an indelible and lasting impact on writers and artists of many stripes since. Join Gerry Cambridge, mentored by GMB himself, whose Dark Horse magazine owes GMB's support a debt of gratitude, and a band of other contributors to explore his legacy: Linden Bicket, scholar of his work; Malachy Tallack, editor of Simple Fire, Carve the Ruins, and An Orkney Tapestry, the centenary editions of GMB's works; Roddy Woomble, Idlewild guitarist; Orkney writer George Gunn; and Nalini Paul, GMB fellow and contributor to a new anthology of poems inspired by him and his writing.

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  • Spoken word pamphlet publisher Stewed Rhubarb has been a firm favourite of Scotland’s poetry scene since its inception almost a decade ago. Since its first award-winning publication, The Glassblower Dances by Rachel McCrum, it has continued to publish the best and brightest spoken word, bringing only the freshest and most innovative work to its audiences.

    This event brings together some of the sizzling talents published by Stewed Rhubarb in recent years. In a quick-fire hour of poetry, you can expect appearances from Colin Bramwell, Ellen Renton, Tracey S. Rosenberg, Bibi June, Henry Bell and Ross McCleary. Together, we will abolish prisons, take our Highland Citizenship tests, and spend every minute of the hour endorsing poetry in its purest Stewed Rhubarb form.

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  • Malika’s Poetry Kitchen is a writers’ collective founded in Brixton by Malika Booker and Roger Robinson in 2001. It nurtures the writing, performance and careers of poets by emphasising craft, community and development. Over the decades of its existence, poet Malika Booker has found the power of sharing food and creating communities, even temporary ones, to be transformative. One such impact is in supporting writers to break their own taboos, to challenge themselves much more deeply – be that in the subjects they address, the language they use or the modes of expression they experiment with. Come and have your soul warmed and your boundaries healthily expanded in this unique opportunity. Food will be provided! Once your ticket as been purchased we will contact you to establish your dietary needs.

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  • The planet is on fire and in flood, as ever more alarming reports detail the impacts of climate change and species extinction, soil erosion and air pollution. How on earth should we respond to this ever-expanding checklist of loss? In their own inimitable ways, three astonishing poets shape their work as exercises in environmental attention. Jen Hadfield’s The Stone Age helps the rocks of Shetland speak aloud, bringing the living consciousness of all things into simultaneous conversation and fresh silence. In Life Without Air, Daisy Lafarge explores the strange intimacies of microbes, parasites, and combustible relationships. Polly Atkin’s new collection Much with Body immerses this attention into disabled bodies, creating a shimmering ecopoetry of lakescapes and watery, shifting place. The event will be chaired by poet and Push the Boat Out program advisor Samuel Tongue.

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  • How is poetry used in the service of politics? Contrarily, how does poetry as an art form allow us to challenge orthodoxies, smash patriarchies, upturn conventions of language and gender, and expose racism? Must all writing in this vein be bombastic, or can slow-burning, quiet resistance be just as effective? Three pioneering poets Marcas Mac an Tuaineir, Vahni Capildeo, and Nadine Aisha Jassat interrogate the strengths and limitations of poetry as an art of resistance.

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  • Calum Rodger is a poet working in performance, print, and digital media. Armed with a PhD in Scottish literature, he has reimagined 20th century poems as video games, and created crowdsourced poetry for the Edwin Morgan Centenary Program at the Hunterian. Uniquely for Push the Boat Out, he’ll present an extended reworking, via film and performance, of Rock, Star, North., a poetic travelogue set in the Grand Theft Auto V universe.

    Sam Riviere’s poetry is fearless and satirical, and has been described as a kind of ‘anti-poetry’ in its rejection of so many of the conventions and hallows of the contemporary poetry ‘scene’. Riviere is the author of three poetry books: the Forward Prize-winning 81 Austerities, Kim Kardashian's Marriage and After Fame. His novel Dead Souls sends up the entire ‘poetry business’, positing a world where the currency is poetry. These two poets are very much of the present and the future, and are not to be missed.

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  • ‘BURMA STORYBOOK’ (2017, Burma)
    Directed by Petr Lom & Corinne Van Egeraat
    Running Time: 2’08
    IMDB 7.0/10

    We’re told at the start of this movie that most Burmese can write poetry or can recite a poem by heart. Poetry in Burma is an art for the common people. But what if poetry comes into collision with a repressive military regime? Maung Aung Pwint is Burma/Myanmar’s most famous living dissident poet who has been jailed many times by the regime. This is his extraordinary film poem to the people who live there in a movie that is spectacularly shot capturing the everyday joys, loves and resistance of an undefeated people.

    We're absolutely thrilled to announce that Corinne van Egeraat will attend our screening of 'Burma Storybook' to give an address.

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  • Poetry Showcase 1

    01 ‘What’s Wrong With Raymond’ (Ray Antrobus) 6’30
    02 ‘Beauty In Silence’ (African animation) 1’48
    03 ‘Ashes To Fire’ (Roger Robinson) 3’48
    04 ‘50 Ways To Wank’ (Hollie McNish animation)
    05 ‘Havergay’ (Roseanne Watt) 3’48
    06 ‘Neroli Kiss’ (Andres Orderica animation) 2’48
    07 ‘Why You Should Read Sylvia Plath’ (TedTalk) 4’45
    08 ‘Parent Bench’ 1’11 (Hollie McNish animation) 1’11
    09 ‘Flowers For Kate’ (Roddy Lumsden/Kate Moss) 1’26
    10 ‘Obsidian Black’ (African animation) 1’39
    11 ‘Image Of Here and Now’ (Sacha Callaghan) 30’00

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  • UK hip hop has traditionally revolved around London, but there has been an undeniable recent boom in hip hop creativity and innovation across all the nations, especially Scotland. Some of the most exciting new projects are coming from women in the genre, who are rarely centred in the hip hop narrative. Writer and Editor Arusa Qureshi explores this in her new book Flip the Script: How Women Came to Rule Hip Hop, published by 404 Ink. She is joined by three rising talents – Scotland's Nova (Scotia the Truth), Northern Ireland's Don Chi, and Bianca Ali from Cardiff collective Ladies of Rage – to discuss hip hop's spread, a non-London perspective, and the women making it happen.

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  • Tighten your VR goggles, stabilize your dimensional tracker and prepare for a poetic voyage through Virtual and Other Realities. Explore poems about video games and alternate timelines, augmented reality and parallel universes, with poetry readings from Stephen Sexton, Rachel Plummer, Elspeth Wilson and Jeda Pearl. Hosted by Russell Jones, deputy and poetry editor of sci-fi magazine, Shoreline of Infinity.

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  • Game Six is a work by Thomas Sharp and Jim Sutherland about post-truth politics, language, illusion and grace. It follows the forty-one moves made by US chess player Bobby Fischer in game six of the 1972 Reykjavik World Chess Championship against Boris Spassky from the USSR. It appears as a book, a happening in Camden, a website and a showing at Push The Boat Out. The creators will talk about the threads of culture which have led to this moment and then show the eleven-minute work. Combining alliterative text, deepfake, audio, cultural ephemera and chess diagrams, Game Six asks how much of the world you can hold in your head. Following the showing, the creators will answer questions but definitely will not have any of the answers. They will be accompanied by a live replaying of the epic match itself, featuring poets Kevin Williamson and William Letford.

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  • Fancy a slot in the next Push the Boat Out? Or maybe you've been inspired or disgusted by the festival and have something powerful to say... Round off the end of your festival weekend with a very special Push the Boat Out Open Mic, hosted by our Comms Manager and Poet Laureate from Treaty Six territory in Canada, Julia Sorensen, and the wonderful poet and Open Mic queen Catherine Wilson. If you're interested in reading, registration will be accessible soon on Push the Boat Out's website. Space is limited.
    Headliners / Performance Showcases

  • ‘ENDLESS POETRY’ (2016, Chile)
    Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
    Running Time: 2hr 08m
    Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

    Jodorowsky’s surreal semi-autobiographical movie is a shape-shifting fantasy, an inventive and often hilarious mystical journey through madness, savage social commentary, as profound as anything the director, now in his 80s, has ever created. Expect a powerful array of colourful freakshow characters illuminated by the genius cinematography of the great Christopher Doyle.

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Our Supporters

Push the Boat Out would not be possible without the generous support of:

Supporters:
Awards for All  |  Baillie Gifford  |  Creative Scotland  | Conundrum Trust  |  James and Morag Anderson  |  National Theatre of Scotland  |  Scotmid Community Fund  |  Scottish Poetry Library  |  University of Edinburgh  |  Claire and Mark Urquhart  |  Witherby’s Publishing Group  |  City of Sanctuary  |  Edwin Morgan Trust  |  Forward Foundation

Program partners:
Gutter Magazine  |  Lighthouse Books   |  Open Book Reading   |  Scottish BAME writers network  |  Shoreline of Infinity  |  Stewed Rhubarb Press  |  WHALE arts

Design:
OnePixelCreative   |  Studio Lemm