The Edinburgh International Book Festival has expanded this year and is presenting several events a stones throw from the more familiar venue at Charlotte Square Gardens. Rachel McCrum and Miriam Nash are presenting their new poetry collections at the Bosco Theatre and this new venue is a lovely location to hear some new poetry from two excellent poets.
The event is chaired by writer Kirsty Logan and she clearly has a love of the work both the poets. First Rachel McCrum reads from her new collection The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate which was recently released by Freight Books. She begins with the poem Broad. Rachel has a background in performance poetry and spoken word and this is obvious in her animated delivery and the kinetic energy in her voice. When speaking to Kirsty, Rachel mentions that she finds it strange that her words are now presented within a book, as opposed to a performance. The depth of quality of her debut collection only underlines that Rachel has mastered both written and performance poetry and the audience gets to witness this quality during this event which has the apt subtitle – Heavenly Voices.
Miriam Nash is also celebrating the release of her debut collection. All the Prayers in the House is released by Bloodaxe Books and contains themes of the sea, mythology, memory, family and also several poems that look at the life of Robert Louis Stevenson. She brilliantly reads a selection poems from her collection including Sink and The Lights. Each poem is expressed with imagination and delight, where the poet uses her words to take the audience on a journey to the variety of brilliant locations that feature in her work. As with Rachel, Miriam is an excellent reader and has written a brilliant debut collection that showcases how powerful, passionate and exciting both written and performed poetry can be.