The Power of Poetry

The Power of Poetry

In this special centenary year of the birth of Scotland’s first ever Makar – the remarkable Edwin Morgan – we celebrate the unbridled power of poetry. For Morgan, the job of being Scotland’s National Poet was to remind Scots that ‘if they want to achieve something in the world, and to really be taken seriously, then they need to show the world what they stand for’.

The poets who join us this Festival embody that sentiment: from poems which ignite activism; to those which help us better comprehend our humanity and shared experiences; to those which sharply and wittily observe the world around us - their words and verses act as rallying cries – uniting us in the quest for better understanding ourselves and the world we inhabit.

The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award

Saturday 15 August 14:30 - 15:30

James McGonigal, Edwin Morgan’s friend and biographer notes that the man ‘was a poet of inventive forms and many voices – a writer of the unexpected. Here are two more surprises. Firstly, he actually made money from poetry. This took much effort...
Mojave American and Latinx poet Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem has been celebrated as a song in the face of erasure and the damage to which Indigenous people are subjected. It presents desire and pleasure as a response, perhaps the only...

Suzanne Bonnar & Joy Harjo with Jackie Kay

Thursday 20 August 19:00 - 20:00

Following the runaway success of her brilliant lockdown project Makar to Makar, beloved poet Jackie Kay joins us for a celebration of the boundless (and borderless) power of poetry.

Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power

Saturday 22 August 13:00 - 14:00

Before most public events in Australia, there is a ‘Welcome to Country’ by an Indigenous elder, or an ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ by a non-Indigenous person. The ‘Acknowledgment’ is a convention that speaks to an awareness of the failure of...
Tired of living out their days through the eyes of others, two of international poetry’s best disruptors turn to language for liberation in tender new collections that carve a space for love amongst the creeping violence of the everyday. Parsing...
By the end of this difficult year, we may all wish to be transported to another world. Enter the irrepressible Allie Esiri, whose bestselling poetry anthologies have long provided nourishment and comfort. Packed with an eclectic mix of beloved...
Almost exactly ten years ago, on 17 August 2010, an eerie hush fell on the Edinburgh International Book Festival as word spread around Charlotte Square Gardens that one of the most significant poets of the 20th century, Edwin Morgan, had died. The...

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