We have an exceptionally strong poetry offering this year, with new titles from Jenni Fagan, Hannah Lavery, and Alycia Pirmohamed, as well as a reissued edition of Liz Lochhead’s seminal debut collection.
- Blood Salt Spring, Hannah Lavery (March)
In a moment that is demanding you to constantly choose your side, how do you find your humanity, your own voice, when you are being pushed to find safety in numbers? Blood Salt Spring is a meditation on where we are – exploring ideas of nation, race and belonging. Much of the collection was written in lockdown and speaks to that moment, the isolation and the traumas of 2020 but it also looks to find some meaning and makes an attempt to heal the pain and vulnerabilities that were picked and cut open again in the recent cultural shifts and political wars. Organised into three sections this book takes the reader on a journey from the old inherited wounds, the trauma of tearing open again these chasms within recent discourses and events, to a hopeful spring, where pain and trauma can be laid down and a new future can be imagined. In this collection, the poet has sought to heal these salted wounds, and move out of winter and into spring – into hope. Blood Salt Spring is the new collection from award-winning poet and playwright and Edinburgh’s new Makar, Hannah Lavery.
- Memo for Spring, Liz Lochhead (March)
Liz Lochhead is one of the leading poets writing in Britain today. This, her debut collection, published in 1972, was a landmark publication. Writing at a time when the landscape of Scottish poetry was male dominated, hers was a new voice, tackling subjects that resonated with readers – as it still does. Her poetry paved the way, and inspired, countless new voices including Ali Smith, Kathleen Jamie, Jackie Kay and Carol Ann Duffy. Still writing and performing today, fifty years on from her first book of poetry, Liz Lochhead has been awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and was Scotland’s second modern Makar, succeeding Edwin Morgan. Memo for Spring is accessible, vital and always as honest as it is hopeful. Driving through this collection are themes of pain, acceptance, loss and triumph.
- The Bone Library, Jenni Fagan (August)
From the multi-award-winning, former Granta Best Young British Novelist, Jenni Fagan, The Bone Library is her third poetry collection. The Bone Library examines and interprets all of human life. The poems here respond to broader themes of identity, of place, of love and the unloved. Written in the old Dick Vet Bone Library during the author’s time as writer in residence there, this is a vivid exploration that cuts to the very core of what it is to be alive. It is also a collection that is honest and carries with it, always, an undertow of elegy.
- Another Way To Split Water, Alycia Pirmohamed (September)
Another Way to Split Water is a collection that has been evolving over many years. It is a book that captures many different versions of who the poet is now and who she has been formerly. The work within these pages is an homage to family – to how identity reforms and transforms throughout generations, through stories told and retold, imagined and reimagined. Perhaps most strikingly, this collection employs figurations of the natural world to reflect on themes of language, distance, migration, belonging, faith, grief, and intimacy. Another Way to Split Water is the debut collection from Edwin Morgan Poetry Award winner Alycia Pirmohamed.