The Scottish Poetry Library on Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh hosts many diverse and interesting events that cover the ever changing poetry landscape. Spoken word and slam poetry is very much part of this evolving landscape and tonight the poetry library is showcasing an event called Brave New Word! An Open Forum Discussion on Spoken Word in Scotland and Australia. The event is a collaboration with Creative Scotland and the Edinburgh International Book Festival to bring together spoken word artists from Scotland and Australia. Local poets Jenny Lindsay and Michael Pedersen are joined by Omar Musa and Luka Lesson from Australia. The event is divided into two parts. Firstly, the audience hear a discussion between the four poets. This is followed by a scratch performance of a special event that will premiere at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.

The discussion is lively, honest and covers a variety of engaging topics. The poetry scenes in both Australia and Scotland are examined, where the similarities and differences are laid bare. The need to cultivate a scene and foster your own path to earn a living is very much part of a poet’s career on both sides of the world. Sustainability, support, funding and community are vital to any arts scene and spoken word is no different to any other. What makes spoken word unique is the use of language and words to engage an audience. This is highlighted by both Omar Musa and Luka Lesson who underline the fact that many indigenous Austrian languages are now lost and there is a need to preserve this culture of communication. A parallel can be drawn to the absence of the scots language from the majority of spoken word in Scotland. The conversation provokes many questions on the lifestyle of an artist and the discussion is an inspiring and enlightening one.

The second section of the Brave New Word event gives a taster of what the four poets plan to present during the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. Without giving too much away the performance is attention grabbing, heart-warming, original and thoroughly engaging. August cannot come soon enough, as the performance has potential to be unique and truly exceptional in its form and presentation. Poetry and spoken word events continue at the Scottish Poetry Library throughout the Spring and into the busy Summer season. Highlights include an evening of writers from the Bloodaxe publishing house on June 10.