For our May readings, we’re delighted to welcome two brilliant Edinburgh-based poets to Shore Poets – Alan Gillis and Sarah Stewart. They’ll be joined by Rob MacKillop, performing a world premier of The Manfred Suite by guitarist-composer, Gordon Ferries. Please join us on the last Sunday of the month for a great line up. If you’d like to read a poem alongside our trio of wonderful poets, please bring a poem with you and put your name in the hat at the door – we’ll pick a ‘wildcard’ poet to open the evening.

Sunday 27th May 2018
 7pm (doors open 6.30pm)

Oh! Outhouse, 12a Broughton Street Lane, Edinburgh, EH1 3LY

Admission: £5 (concessions £3)

Please be there in plenty of time to get a seat. Unfortunately, fire regulations mean we have to turn people away if the room becomes overcrowded.


Gillis Photo 2014

Alan Gillis is from Belfast and now lives in Scotland, where he teaches English at The University of Edinburgh. He has published four poetry collections with The Gallery Press: Scapegoat (2014), Here Comes the Night (2010), Hawks and Doves (2007) and Somebody, Somewhere (2004), which won the Strong Award for Best First Collection in Ireland. He has also been shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot prize, and for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award. In 2014 he was selected as a ‘Next Generation Poet’ by the Poetry Book Society in the UK. As a critic he is author of Irish Poetry of the 1930s (2005), and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry (2012), both published by Oxford University Press. From 2010-2015 he was editor of Edinburgh Review. A Selected Poems entitled Scapegoat and Other Poems was published in the USA by Wake Forest Press in 2016.



Frank has been writing poetry and prose for many years, with several novels in his drawer. He plays violin and viola in several ensembles around Edinburgh, in The Whole Shebang, in Holm, and in the St Andrew Orchestra. He is the music facilitator for Shore Poets.


SS shore poets

Sarah Stewart is a writer and editor based in Edinburgh. She was a UNESCO City of Literature Writer in Residence in Krakow in 2017, and her poetry has appeared in Anon, Gutter, The Honest Ulsterman, Mslexia, New Writing Dundee, The Pickle Jar, The Scotsman, and in the anthologies Be The First To Like This: New Scottish Poetry and Best Scottish Poems 2014. Her first pamphlet, Glisk, was published by Tapsalteerie this month.


Guitar (25)

Rob MacKillop is guitar player with a wealth of experience in different styles and periods, from medieval Scottish music on lute, through to free improvisation on acoustic archtop guitar. For his visit to the Shore Poets he will be showcasing a new guitar (if it arrives from the luthier in time!), and will include a new improvisation based on the poetry readings he hears at the meeting. Rob will be playing a world premier of a specially commissioned piece by guitarist-composer, Gordon Ferries. It is a five-minute piece for classical guitar, based on the Byron play, Manfred.

The lemon cake raffle provides us with much-needed funds, so we very much appreciate your support. And it is a most excellent lemon cake. (Occasionally, we also have poetry books in the raffle, and are very grateful to the donors thereof.)

We should have a wildcard spot this month. Please mention to the person selling tickets that you’d like to put your name in the hat (ideally we will ask you, but sometimes we forget to ask and then we feel sad once we remember our omission). Bring a poem to read in case you’re chosen! You’ll have three minutes (this includes any preamble or introduction – it’s a good idea to time yourself in advance to make sure you’re within the time limits).

See you on 27th May!

Useful information:
1) we have a mailing list, and if you haven’t signed up yet, here’s your chance: just click right here and fill in the few bits of information. This is usually only for event notifications and things like ‘looking for slam/open night participants’. You can unsubscribe anytime you want to, although we would be sad if you did.
2) Our email address (take out spaces on either side of the @) is shorepoetsedinburgh @ Emails sent to any other email address go to the great rubbish bin in the virtual sky.

Shore Poets NOVEMBER: Quiet Slam!

Cat Dean
(Cat Dean performing at the this collection all-female Quiet Slam in 2011)

Dear readers, fans, friends, poets…

As promised in our last blog update, we’re mixing it up this month… doing something we’ve never attempted before!

Shore Poets NOVEMBER: Quiet Slam
in association with Be The First To Like This and Book Week Scotland

That’s right – we’re slamming! For the first time ever, we’re hosting our very own (quiet) poetry slam, especially for Book Week Scotland 2014. Ten poets will compete: six of them will be poets featured in Be The First To Like This, the brand new, very exciting poetry anthology from Vagabond Voices. The other four slam slots are open to anyone, and successful slammers’ names will be picked from a hat on the night! Prizes up for grabs include book tokens, poetry books and CDs, and our overall winner will progress to the Scottish Slam Championship finals!

What’s the format?
Each of our ten poets will perform twice. We’ll have a first round, in which each poet will read for a skinny two minutes, and be scored by our judges. After a break there’ll be a second round, and each poet will read again – this time for 2.5 minutes. This means each poet gets two chances to wow our judging panel! The top three highest scoring poets from rounds one and two will go into a final, where they’ll get chance to read for three whole minutes.
Interspersed among all this we’ll have our usual lovely music, this month from Various Moons. We’ll also have our raffle, so you’ll still get chance to win the infamous lemon cake!

What’s a quiet slam?
A quiet slam is a slam where loudness is not necessarily a virtue. Participants won’t be marked down for speaking softly, reading from paper, or being nervous (this seems obvious really, because we’re nice people and we don’t have hearts of stone). We also want to encourage slam virgins to take part – have you been intrigued by the whole slam thing but put off by the competitiveness and shouting? This is a good place to cut your slam teeth. Finally, judges will score participants on the quality of their poem and the quality of their performance alone. There will be no score for audience reaction – because it’s not fair for someone to walk off with the top prize just because they brought a lot of friends!

The highest scoring poet of the night will win a £30 book token and automatically go forward to compete in the Scottish Poetry Slam Championship finals.
The runner up will win a £20 book token and third prize is a £10 book token.
All performers will receive a small prize for taking part, too!

Can I take part…?
You can! There are four open spots up for grabs and performers will be selected via a random draw on the night. Just email to have your name put in the hat!

…even if I’m not in Be The First To Like This?
Yep! We’re promoting BTFTLT by offering six of our slam slots to poets who appear in that book. We’ll also be selling copies of the book on the night. This is because we feel the anthology is a really lovely recognition of Scotland’s many talented new and upcoming poets, and we want to help promote it. But the BTFTLT poets will also be drawn from a hat to find out who competes, and they’ll compete on the same footing as everyone else!

We’re happy to announce that our Head Judge will be our very own Jane McKie – you may remember her mad slam-judging skills from last Book Week Scotland, and the Dead Poets Slam at the Bongo Club! Helping Jane out with her very tricky task will be Dr Alan Gillis, Honorary Shore Poet and Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh, and Jennifer Williams, Programme Manager at the Scottish Poetry Library.
The event will be hosted by Shore Poet and BTFTLT contributor Claire Askew.

Don’t worry – we’re not changing too much. Our venue is still the lovely Henderson’s at St John’s, and you’ll still be able to buy tickets for our famous raffle (books and other goodies added to the mix this month, as well as the lemon cake)! We hope you’ll come along and support us as we venture into new, uncharted territory!

Here are the most important details:

Sunday 30th November 2014, 7.45 pm to 10.00pm (doors open 7.15pm)
Henderson’s at St John’s, St John’s Church, corner of Lothian Road and Princes Street, Edinburgh
Admission: £5 (concessions £3)

You can also join us at our Facebook group.

Readings by mainly Scottish poets on the last Sunday of every month

Scottish Book Trust

Shore Poets APRIL: it’s Open Night!

Henderson’s at St John’s, Lothian Road, Edinburgh
7.45 pm to 10.00 pm
Sunday 27th April 2014

Bar from 7.15pm
Admission £5 / Concessions £3

It’s April! Happy springtime from Shore Poets!

Our headline poet this month is Alan Gillis. Alan is a poet and critic, and is editor of Edinburgh Review. His most recent poetry collection is Here Comes the Night (2010), and he is currently completing its follow-up. His first collection, Somebody, Somewhere (2004), was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award, and won The Strong Award for best first collection in Ireland. His second, Hawks and Doves (2007), was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and The Queen’s University of Belfast, and was previously Lecturer in Irish Literature at The University of Ulster, and Research Fellow at The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at The Queen’s University of Belfast.

It’s April this month, so that, of course, means that it’s time for our popular Open Night. We have a host of wonderful poets lined up to read their work, and we’re really excited to hear what they bring to the mic. As always, we’ve had a lot of interest, so all the slots are full, but there is the small possibility that one of our poets won’t be able to make it… so, come along with a poem in your pocket!

Because it’s Open Night this month, there’ll be no Shore Poets Wildcard slot. That’ll be back in May. But as always, we’ll have beautiful music from Becky Leach, Mairi McFadyen and Fiona Robinson. We very much hope you’ll join us!

The venue is Henderson’s at St John’s, Lothian Road, Edinburgh
7.45 pm to 10.00 pm
Sunday 27th April 2014
Bar from 7.15pm
Arrive early to nab a good seat!
Admission £5 / Concessions £3

If you would like to receive regular news about our poetry events, send e-mail to: newsletter (at)

Tell us you’re coming at our Facebook event!

You can also join us at our Facebook group.

Readings by mainly Scottish poets
on the last Sunday of every month

Scottish Book Trust