Edinburgh Makar

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Launch of ‘Like leaves in Autumn’ – Ungaretti’s WWI poetry

Like Leaves in Autumn is a collection of twenty one poems by Giuseppe Ungaretti translated into English, twenty one new poems by contemporary Scottish poets writing in response to Ungaretti, and twenty one black-and-white artworks from the ARTIST ROOMS collection. Carlo Pirozzi and Katherine Lockton edited the collection, with translations provided by Heather Scott.  Pub  Luath Press, Edinburgh, 2015.

Group photo at launch

From left: Charlotte Kedslie, Carlo Pirozzi, Carlo Francini, Katherine Lockton, Christine De Luca, Giuseppe De Micheli

The launch, which included poetry, animation, film and music, took place on Saturday 20th March at the Talbot Rice Gallery.  The Lord Provost, Donald Wilson, welcomed Carlo Francini and Giuseppe de Micheli from Florence, our twin city over 50 years.  Summerhall TV made this short film about the project.

10th Anniversary of Edinburgh as UNESCO’s first City of Literature

Makar's poem projected in Krakow

Part of my poem ‘Edinburgh Volte-Face’ projected in a Krakow square. Krakow is a UNESCO City of Literature too

It’s hard to believe that it is now 10 years since Edinburgh was designated the inaugural UNESCO City of Literature, at an event in Paris. On 30th March the Lord Provost, Donald Wilson, hosted a reception in the City Chambers. I read a poem Through the Traffic of Tongues, commissioned to mark the occasion.  It contains snippets of poems by the three previous Makars.

Through the traffic of tongues

A poem to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Edinburgh’s
designation as UNESCO’s first City of Literature

Ten years we’ve had of trafficking,
of keeping borders open through words,
through discerning conversation,

the hospitality of books. Seven citadels
of literature, all fostered from a dream;
seven hills and heavens, cities of possibilities.  …


The Edinburgh Award 2015

Edinburgh Award 2015

Tom Gilzean receives the Edinburgh Award for 2015

Edinburgh Makar reads poem for Tom Gilzean

Edinburgh Makar, Christine De Luca, reads her commissioned poem ‘Out in Front’ for Tom Gilzean

I was delighted to read and present my poem, Out in Front, to Tom Gilzean, winner of the Edinburgh Award 2015. Tom’s citation is for his inspiring and selfless contribution to Edinburgh. He has personally raised over £250,000 for local charities. The photo on the left shows Tom, flanked by me (on his right) and Lord Provost Donald Wilson (on his left), at the City Chambers reception on 17th March. Photos courtesy of Lloyd Smith Photography.

Making a link with ELISA

A doorway in KrakowELISA (Edinburgh Library & Information Services Agency) links Edinburgh’s many wonderful libraries.  They wanted me to write a little about the Makar’s role and my recent brief trip to Krakow.

This was a wonderful opportunity to visit a city I had long wanted to see, a city which had recently been designated a UNESCO City of Literature.  To welcome us they had projected poems on to a wall in a city centre square.  The poem of mine selected was less than flattering about Edinburgh! (But I did write it a long time ago and balanced it with a love poem to the city, written more recently!)


The Stars are a Map I Unfurl

Here’s a project I worked on with Kyra Pollitt (translator) and David Bell (kinetic typographer) to translate a British Sign Language (BSL) poem by Gary Quinn firstly into a poem in English and then into a kinetic version.  The final piece, called The Stars are a Map I Unfurl, also features a version of the poem in Shetlandic.  All these creative interpretations are based on the epic solo voyage of Gerry Hughes who is profoundly deaf.

You can read more about the project on the Scottish Poetry Library’s Website.