Types of Event

Sound & Vision: Vision

Combining five specially-selected feature length movies with short, thought-provoking documentaries, wonderfully diverse animations, and much more, our film strand showcases the breadth of what is possible when poetry and film come together creatively. The emphasis is on the global – as befits an international poetry festival – plus the non-mainstream and lesser seen. We hope to get folk talking and delve deeper into the art, craft and politics of contemporary practitioners. The showcases of shorter films that run between the features are as eclectic as they are diverse. Some of the artists featured in our poetry festival will appear. The five feature films to be screened are international to the core. Two from Chile, one from South Korea, a socio-political documentary from Burma, plus a tongue-in-cheek hip hop documentary following the adventures of two cheeky Scottish rappers in California, all of which we expect to surprise, enlighten, inspire, provoke and delight. We hope you’ll find time to kick back and enjoy this weekend film strand between all the live stuff we have going on.


We know lots of our audiences are writers too, or aspire to be, so are delighted to bring you a raft of unusual opportunities to hone your own writing craft. Whether you’re on your third collection or have never penned a poem, you’re absolutely welcome to join us. We’ve asked some of our most experienced writers to do something unexpected for our workshop series and are thrilled with what they’ve come up with. In each case if you’re required to bring anything with you the event description will have that information – otherwise, just yourself and something to write with should do the trick.

Readings & Discussions

Some of our team – and no doubt our audience – enjoy the conversation around poetry almost as much as the work itself. And with recent ‘events’, be they political or societal or pandemic related, there’s plenty to say about the role of art in times of crisis. We’ve brought together our poets to explore, interrogate, possibly debunk our questions and raise a few of their own. We also intend to turn these discussions into podcasts following our first festival; keep an eye on our website for those.

Double Bills

Our program isn’t nearly big enough to contain the incredible breadth and range of contemporary poets working in the UK and Ireland today. But we can showcase a small, yet very powerful, bit of it. Bringing you a series of double bills, much like a trusted librarian, or monstrous algorithm, we’ve taken the liberty of pairing poets we think you might like together. So settle in for 2 x 25 minutes of some of the most inspiring, incisive and thought-provoking work you’ll find around these isles.

Headliners / Performance Showcases

At the core of everything we do is the poetry. Explore our programme for some incredible performances, from the quietly devastating to the utterly bombastic, from the unexpected to to the downright bizarre. A key impetus for creating Push the Boat Out was to build a new platform for poetry too, creating a home for the 17-minute monologue or the interactive chess-based social commentary that just doesn’t naturally fit anywhere else. With the support of our partners we’re also able to bring you work specifically created for Push the Boat Out, including a brand new work in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland devised by the incredible Hannah Lavery. And, to host the very first outing for two of the most anticipated and farreaching poetry publications of the year – Harry Josie Giles’ ‘Deep Wheel Orcadia’ and Raymond Antrobus’ ‘All the Names Given’. Ooft we can’t wait!

Artist Talks & Installations

Three artworks bring Summerhall to life during Push the Boat Out. We welcome you to spend time with these works, all of which reflect on the power of language, and the idea of value in different ways. The installations are around the Summerhall site, but you’ll find more information and interpretation on each in the Main Hall. We’ve also created three opportunities for you to hear directly from the artists themselves in our Artists Talks on Friday afternoon.


A Poetry Mile is a unique experience built from 55 specially commissioned poems, mapping the square mile around Summerhall. More details when the project is launched on October 1st.


Scotland is absolutely awash with vibrant, innovative, thoughtful organisations which contribute to the development of poetry, literature and the arts more broadly. Push the Boat Out is pleased to hand over the curatorial reins to some of our favourites (of which there are many!), with each creating a specific ‘showcase’ event on our four festival themes. Magazine and events org Shoreline of Infinity tackle ‘Virtual and Other Realities’; BAME Writers take on ‘Healing and Recovery’; Gutter magazine wrestle with ‘Eco-poetics and climate change’ and Stewed Rhubard press (with a big nod to editor Beth Cochrane, who supported Push the Boat Out’s early navigation) present on ‘Social Justice and Representation’. We’re honoured to have these teams’ talent and input on our programme, and recommend you check out all the good work they’re doing.