Tinsel Tales 2020

Members of the Federation of Writers( Scotland) enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of readings on Thursday 17th December 2020. The poetry and prose readings covered a range of topics from birth to death and everything in between, with moods from sad to joyous and ultimately optimistic. The event ended with an official welcome to the new Makar and Scriever, Jim Mackintosh and Leela Soma, and a message of celebration and thanks to the outgoing postholders, Finola Scott and Charlie Gracie. Thanks, too, to MT Taylor and Marc Sherland for their captivating compering and to Jenifer Harley for her gracious organisation. Thanks, too, to all of the contributors. It was noted that the virtual nature of the event ensured its inclusivity, another cause for optimism in these strange times.

Watch the event here https://youtu.be/FvEl62Yb6ZU

Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year !

20 Words for 2020

Congratulations to the winners of the Scriever’s Challenge. Watch an interview with Charlie Gracie, the FWS Scriever and Ricky Monahan Brown, in which Ricky discusses his successful piece Black Heart and other aspects of his work.

The videoed interviews with other winners to be posted in coming weeks.

Ricky Monahan Brown and Charlie Gracie, FWS scriever

More here https://federationofwritersscotland.com/20-words-for-2020/

Makar’s poetry workshop

Finola Scott, our Makar, held the latest of her enjoyable poetry workshops as part of her virtual tour on Thursday 22 October 2020. Finola inspired and led the group to tap into their emotions and memories. Some lively discussion resulted with folk sharing their ideas. By the end of the workshop every poet attending had developed their own personal poem or reflection, one to read in the workshop and another to be developed in the future. Subjects ranged greatly from comfort, love, embarrassment, disappointment, reminiscence, wrong choices and even humour, involving all of the senses. What an abundance of talent we have amongst our members. Finola, thank you for providing such inspiration, the time flew by. And thank you to the contributors who brought so much to the event.

Featured Writer: Pippa Little

We are delighted to welcome Pippa Little as this month’s Featured Writer. Pippa is a poet of distinction who a few years ago, as many of us will remember, read at the Centre Stage event, the highlight of each day of poetry readings at the StAnza poetry festival. She says that her poem, Gathering, which you can read below, and which expresses in lovingly observed detail the sense of calm reflection and companionship with the dead that old churchyards induce, is ‘about (partly) the Howff in Dundee, which I loved when living nearby there, also the beautiful Victorian churchyard across the road from my house now which I visit every day.’.

 Pippa Little is a Scots poet living in Northumberland where she is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University. Her two full collections, Overwintering (Carcanet) and Twist (Arc) were both shortlisted for major prizes. A third, Time Begins To Hurt, is forthcoming. She runs writing workshops, mentors and belongs to two women’s poetry groups. She has been published in many magazines/online including Glasgow Review of Books, Gutter, Dreich (see below under Members’ News), Chapman, Poetry Review, The Rialto. Two proud moments: a haiku beamed on to the wall of the National Gallery in Edinburgh and organising a Poem-A-Thon for refugees. 

 Gathering
Surrounded by slanting walls rose-red
and tappy-lappy tenements
this churchyard sits in its own secrets
known only to locals and lone cats.

Slip through its fronded gate
and city roar turns to murmuration,
known names sea-weathered in stone
warm to my hands’ touch.

Grace who died at five days old
Laura Marley, delivered
into the Lord’s care 1869,
Until The Shadows Flee Away. 

When time and the heart make heavy
I go with nothing more than need
to be among them, in their fern, bramble, dog rose
where they listen to my thoughts

the old sun shawls our shoulders
and we are companionable with one another.

© Pippa Little 2020