Above: Edinburgh Come all Ye, a book of poems by Alan Spence.
This book of poems by Alan Spence celebrates Scotland, Scottishness and the events of 2017- 2021, during which Alan Spence was appointed Edinburgh’s Makar. Each of the poems is accompanied by artworks by some of Scotland’s best known artists, and I’m honoured indeed to have my painting Wells of Arthur’s Seat, St Anthony’s Chapel from St Margaret’s Loch included in the book and as front cover!
Artists included are – Victoria Crowe, Alison Watt, David Williams, Calum Colvin, Doug Cocker, Andrew Archer and Joyce Gunn Cairns.
‘Makar’ is the title given to a learned and established poet who’s been invited officially to represent their country or city. Alan Spence was a great choice for the role from 2017 to 2021. His poems celebrate Scotland, but he is also influenced by Japanese literature and often writes in Haiku form. He’s also a lovely human being and great fun! He and his wife Janani opened their book shop and meditation centre in 2017 and I’d often drop in for a chat and to buy a book. In 2018 I invited Alan and Atzi Muramatsu to collaborate on a project that explores the history, flora and fauna of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. It’s a hill rich in history and pre-history and my interest was in the wells that are dotted around the hill.
Alan’s beautfuul poem Wellwater which features in this book, is in the form of a wish, prayer or invocation. I was delighted by it as it captured the very essence of the project – the fact that since pre-history ordinary people believed that St Antony’s Well had healing properties. As Alan expresses in his poem ‘it’s free, it’s for everyone’. We might question the healing properties the well may have had, but in fact the water did have a high iron content (and who knows what effect their faith in its power may have had?)
The book is available to buy on the links below, and an event to launch the book takes place on the 7th September at 7pm at the Scottish Poetry Library. Alan will give a talk as part of the book launch and is sure to be as engaging as always with characteristic sensitvity and wit! It really is a delight to be a part of this book and I very much look forward to reading it.
Book launch – Edinburgh Come Al Ye, Alan Spence
Buy book at Scotland Street Press – https://www.scotlandstreetpress.com/product/edinburgh-come-all-ye
Buy book at Poetry Books – https://www.poetrybooks.co.uk/products/edinburgh-come-all-ye-by-adam-spence-pre-order