Jim Carruth is the Glasgow Poet Laureate and tonight is at the Aye Write Festival to introduce two new poets. Phoebe Power has just released her latest collection of poetry Shrines of Upper Austria. The book won the 2018 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. Also appearing this evening is Richard Scott who is at the Aye Write Festival with his debut collection Soho.
The first poet to read is Richard Scott. His poetry looks at gay shame, lack of queer visibility and LGBT identity. Scott begins with a poem “that was born out of the frustration of being at school during section 28”. Here we see how powerful and thoughtful his words are. The poem Museum follows and Richard states that the Rilke quote “you must change your life” was the starting point for this piece. Dancing Bear covers themes of therapy and considerately employs technical terms used in ballet as a means to describe beautiful imagery. The poet also reads two sections from his long poem Oh My Soho! Here Richard takes the reader on a “Homo- psychogeographical walk around Soho” and looks at the queer ancestry and history of the area.
Following Richard Scott is Phoebe Power. Jim Carruth mentions that the poets debut collection “Takes the reader on a European odyssey” and is “a highly impressive showcase of an inquisitive mind”. Phoebe reads several poems from her collection including Fasching, Name and 1943-5 Ebensee. Each covers themes of identity and have a nostalgic quality to them. They take the viewer on a journey to Austria where traditions and family are imperative. At times Phoebe reads whilst key words and phrases are projected on a screen behind her. The text is in bold black and white and this gives her words an extra weight and body, making them feel more visceral and tactile.
After the reading Jim Carruth states his joy of bringing these two new poets to the Aye Write Festival in Glasgow. Seeing as they are both at the start of their careers this presents -“The idea of where does the journey go from here”. Both Phoebe Power and Richard Scott have written two fantastic books and are excellent readers of their work and will hopefully return to the festival in the future.