St Mungo's Mirrorball

The Glasgow network of poets and poetry lovers

December Showcase


We have a great line-up for our December showcase: Sinéad Morrissey, Alycia Primohamed, Mark Russell and Leslie Benzie. The event will be held on 10th December at 7pm on Zoom. Only members can join events at present, please see details on About page re: joining.

Sinéad Morrissey is the author of six poetry collections. Her awards include a Lannan Literary Fellowship, first prize in the UK National Poetry Competition, the Irish Times Poetry Prize (2009, 2013), and the T. S. Eliot Prize (2013). In 2016 she received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. On Balance was the winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2017 and of the European Poet of Freedom Award 2020. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and Director of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts. Morrisey’s latest book of selected poems is Found Architecture, published by Carcanet.

Alycia Pirmohamed was announced as the winner of the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award for her collection The Ghosts that Visit Us as We Dream. A Canadian-born poet living in Scotland, she has recently completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh on poetry written by second-generation immigrants. She is the co-founder and director of the Scottish BAME Writers Network. Her second pamphlet, Hinge (Ignition Press) was Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice of Summer 2020. Alycia currently reads for Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

Mark Russell has published two full collections and five pamphlets, the latest being (the book of gatherings) with Red Ceilings Press. He won the 2020 Magma Poetry Judge’s Prize, and his poems have appeared recently in Tears in the Fence, Gutter, Tentacular, Poetry Birmingham, Molly Bloom, The Fortnightly Review, Denver Quarterly, and Adjacent Pineapple

Lesley Benzie’s new book Fessen/Reared, is a volume of Doric and English poems from Seahorse Publications. Lesley has been published in a variety of literary magazines over decades, including, West Coast MagazinePushing Out The Boat and Cutting Teeth. Her first collection of poetry, SEWN UP, was published in 2000. Most recently, her poems have been selected for, A Kist of ThistlesPopshots Magazine and the upcoming Black Lives Matter Anthology. She received a ‘Highly Commended’ in the FWS Vernal Equinox Competition and was Runner up in the McCash Scots Poetry Prize. 

November Mirrorball

Our headliner is David Morley. His latest book from Carcanet Press, FURY, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. David trained as an ecologist in the Lake District and won the Ted Hughes Award for The Invisible Gift: Selected Poems. His other books from Carcanet include The Magic of What’s There, The Gypsy and the Poet, Enchantment and The Invisible Kings. David wrote the bestselling The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. He also pioneered podcasting in creative writing through his Slow Poetry and Writing Challenges spoken word projects. He is a professor at Warwick and Monash universities and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.  

Our headliner will be supported by a programme of poetry from STEM Poets curated by Eveline Pye. The event will be held on 12th November at 7pm on Zoom. Currently only members can attend, please email Jim Carruth (Mirrorball chair) or Vicki Husband (membership secretary) for details on how to join.

STEM poets readings on Ecopoetry

STEM poets are established poets with scientific backgrounds or a special interest in one of the sciences, pursued over many years, and they are committed to promoting informed writing on all scientific subjects. Ecopoetry is a marriage between ecology and poetry, a place where science and poetry overlap, where environmental awareness and ecological concerns can be expressed in an emotionally meaningful way. 

Eveline Pye is the only poet ever to be published in Significance, the joint magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Society. She was an invited poet at Bridges Conferences on mathematical poetry in Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Austria and Canada and her work has appeared in all four of their anthologies of mathematical poetry. The latest anthology can be purchased at  Eveline’s collection, Smoke That Thunders, was published by Mariscat Press (2015) and, from it, the poem Mosi-Oa-Tunya was chosen for the 20 Best Scottish Poems of that Year. Her second pamphlet, STEAM, is to be published by Red Squirrel, in 2021, and features poems on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM subjects. She was awarded 2nd prize in September 2020 in the SciPo competition run by St Hilda’s College, Oxford (

November Mirrorball

Save the date for the next Mirrorball on 12th November at 7pm on Zoom, details to follow. Only members can attend virtual Mirrorball sessions at this time, for details on how to join please email chair, Jim Carruth: or membership secretary: Vicki Husband:

October showcase

We have four great poets – Ross Wilson, Molly Vogel, James McGonigal and Janette Ayachi – lined up for our next event on Thursday 29th October at 7pm on Zoom. Please note only current members can attend and will be sent the Zoom link by email (for membership see membership page). Details of all readers below. Thereafter save the date for the November Mirrorball on the 12th.

Janette Ayachi is a London-born Edinburgh-based Scottish-Algerian poet with a BA Combined Honours in English Literature and Film & Media from Stirling University, and a MSc in Creative Writing  from Edinburgh University.  After the publication of two poetry pamphlets and a hardback children’s book, her debut full poetry collection Hand Over Mouth Music (Pavilion Press, Liverpool University) won the 2019 Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Literary Award.  She has been published widely in various anthologies and shortlisted for a few accolades; her filmpoems have been screened at festivals, she collaborates with artists and has appeared on Scotland’s BBC radio and television either as an arts critic or literary performer.  Currently, she is working on a series of commissions and art projects alongside her book Lonerlust: Postcards From a Passed-On World, a nonfiction narrative about travelling alone searching connections between landscapes, culture and human connection.

James McGonigal is a poet, editor, teacher and a long-time member of St Mungo’s Mirrorball. He has a particular interest in the life and work of Edwin Morgan, who taught him as an undergraduate in the late 1960s, and then supervised his part-time research on modernist poetry through the 1970s. As Morgan’s friend and latterly his carer and a literary executor, he wrote a prize-winning biography: Beyond the Last Dragon, A Life of Edwin Morgan (Sandstone Press, 2010), and co-edited Edwin Morgan, The Midnight Letterbox: Selected Correspondence 1950–2010 (Carcanet Press, 2015). His Scotnote introduction to Morgan’s work for school students (Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2013) has recently been translated into Chinese. In Touch with Language, a co-edited volume of Morgan’s uncollected prose 1950–2005, appeared in April 2020 from the Association for Scottish Literary Studies. 

Molly Vogel is a poet from Thousand Oaks, California. She moved to Glasgow to pursue a doctorate in English Literature, where she still resides. A selection of her poems featured in New Poetries VI (Carcanet, 2015) and her first collection, Florilegium, was released earlier this year (Shearsman, 2020) . She was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize in 2014 and received a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust in 2016. 

Ross Wilson’s first full collection, Line Drawing (Smokestack Books) was shortlisted for the Saltire Book of the Year in 2019. His pamphlet, Letters to Rosie (Tapsalteerie) was published this year. He works full time as an Auxiliary Nurse in Glasgow.

Edwin Morgan Celebration

Edwin Morgan by Sandy Moffat

Celebration of Edwin Morgan’s Centenary

National Poetry Day Thursday 1st October 2020

Zoom 7.00 – 9.00 pm

St Mungo’s Mirrorball will celebrate the centenary of our former and first Honorary President, Edwin Morgan, on National Poetry Day. The event will be virtual courtesy of the Scottish Poetry Library Zoom account and will take place from 7.00-9.00 pm. The Zoom link will be emailed to members on the week of the event. If you are not a current member of Mirrorball, please see ‘About’ page on this blog, for details of how to join.

The Programme

7.00 – 7.30      James McGonigal The Prosaic Mr. Morgan

7.30 – 8.00      Members reading their favourite Morgan poems 

8.00 – 8.30      Greg Thomas — Concrete Glasgow: Edwin Morgan, Veronica Forrest-Thomson, and Irrational Obscurity

8.30 – 9.00      Members reading their favourite Morgan poems 

James McGonigal is a poet, editor, teacher and a long-time member of St Mungo’s Mirrorball. He has a particular interest in the life and work of Edwin Morgan, who taught him as an undergraduate in the late 1960s, and then supervised his part-time research on modernist poetry through the 1970s. As Morgan’s friend and latterly his carer and a literary executor, he wrote a prize-winning biography: Beyond the Last Dragon, A Life of Edwin Morgan(Sandstone Press, 2010), and co-edited Edwin Morgan, The Midnight Letterbox: Selected Correspondence 1950–2010 (Carcanet Press, 2015). His Scotnote introduction to Morgan’s work for school students (Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2013) has recently been translated into Chinese. In Touch with Language, a co-edited volume of Morgan’s uncollected prose 1950–2005, appeared in April 2020 from the Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

Greg Thomas is an independent writer and critic based in Glasgow. He is the author of Border Blurs: Concrete Poetry in England and Scotland (Liverpool University Press, 2019) and the article “Concrete Poetry and Scottish Women’s Writing: The Case of Veronica Forrest-Thomson” (Contemporary Women’s Writing, forthcoming). His most recent creative publications are Cloud Cover (Essence Press, 2018) and the poem-essay “Book 1: 1931-53”, for The Centenary Collection: Edwin Morgan (Speculative Books, 2020). He currently contributes to a number of art magazines including Aesthetica and Scottish Art News and is working on a short film on Ian Hamilton Finlay for BBC Scotland.

September Showcase

We have another great line up of poets for our next event: Bill Herbert, supported by Christie Williamson, Shehzar Doja and Charlie Gracie. The event will take place on Thursday 17th September at 7pm on Zoom. The Zoom link will be emailed to members on the week of the event. If you are not a current member of Mirrorball, please see ‘About’ page on this blog, for details of how to join.


W.N Herbert

W.N. Herbert was born in 1961 in Dundee, and educated there and at Brasenose College, Oxford. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and has published widely with OUP, Arc, and others, including six books of poetry with Bloodaxe, several collaborative volumes with other poets, and five pamphlets. He has edited best-selling and influential anthologies such as Strong Words (2000) and Jade Ladder (2012). He is also a librettist, a text-led public artist, and a translator, working in collaboration on texts in Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, Farsi, and Somali. He has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize, the Forward, and the Saltire, and has gained several PBS Recommendations and other awards, including the Cholmondeley. He was an original New Generation Poet, the first Wordsworth Trust Writing Fellow, and, between 2015 and 2018, the first Dundee Makar or city laureate. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Bill Herbert’s latest book The Wreck of the Fathership will be published by Bloodaxe in October 2020.


Christie Williamson

Christie Williamson lives in Glasgow where he runs Tell it Slant Books and is treasurer of the Scottish Writers’ Centre. Arc o Möns, his debut pamphlet, won the 2010 Calum MacDonald Memorial Award. His latest collection, Doors tae Naewye, is published this year by Luath Press. He comes fae Yell.


Shehzar Doja is Founder/Editor-in-Chief of The Luxembourg Review and host of The Literary Lounge series. His poetry and translations have appeared in New Welsh Review, Pratik, Modern Poetry in Translation, Voice and Verses, Ceremony, Poems from the Edge of Extinction, Gutter, The Centenary Collection for Edwin Morgan, Fundstücke-Trouvailles and more. His poetry collection –Drift– was published by UPL/Monsoon Letters in 2016 and he co-edited  ‘I am a Rohingya: Poetry from the Camps and Beyond’ (Arc, 2019) with James Byrne which was recently Poetry Book Society’s inaugural ‘World Choice’ selection by Ilya Kaminsky.



Charlie Gracie
Charlie Gracie grew up in Baillieston, Glasgow. His work has appeared in a range of anthologies and journals, with some listed for literary prizes, including the Bath Novel Award, Cambridge Short Story Prize and Bridport Poetry Prize. His first novel, To Live With What You Are (2019) was published by Postbox Press. His poetry collections, Good Morning, (2010) and Tales from the Dartry Mountains (2020), were published by Diehard Press. He is the 2020 official Scriever for the Federation of Writers (Scotland), and Chair of the Scottish Writers’ Centre. He now lives on the edge of the Trossachs with his family.

Clydebuilt Showcase 11

Our first virtual event is coming soon, this is an event postponed from May. Zoom details will be emailed to members on the week of the event. If you are not a current member of Mirrorball, please see ‘About’ page on this blog, for details of how to join.

Clydebuilt 11 Showcase – Thursday 10th September 7pm

Mentor: J L Williams

Books by JL Williams include Condition of Fire (Shearsman, 2011), Locust and Marlin (Shearsman, 2014), Our Real Red Selves (Vagabond Poets, 2015), House of the Tragic Poet (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016) and After Economy (Shearsman Books, 2017). She is interested in expanding dialogues through writing across languages, perspectives and cultures and in multimodal and cross-form work, visual art, dance, opera and theatre.

Published widely in journals, her poetry has been translated into numerous languages. She has read at international literature festivals and venues in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, Cyprus, Canada, Hungary, Romania, Montenegro and the US. She wrote the libretto for a new opera, Snow, was Writer-in-Residence for the British Art Show 8 in Edinburgh and plays in the poetry and music band Hail of Bright Stones. In 2019, she was awarded a bursary to develop a new opera with composer Samantha Fernando at the Royal Opera House. Williams curates writing events and creates workshops and professional development activities for poets.



David Ross Linklater is a poet from Balintore (Balti/The Bleaching Town) in Easter Ross. He holds an Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow, is the recipient of a Dewar Arts Award and was shortlisted for a New Writers Award in 2015. He has published three pamphlets of poetry, most recently Black Box (Speculative Books, 2018) and was a mentee on the Clydebuilt 2018/19 scheme. He lives and writes in Glasgow. In 2020 he was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Trust Award.

Hannah Summers makes art with words and other found objects. She is from Glasgow, more or less, and has studied both Creative Writing and Sculpture in this city. Her work has been published in Crannóg 50, Earth Work, and From Glasgow to Saturn. Some of her recent poems can be found in the launch issue of the new zine, Pigs.


Frank McHugh teaches and writes poetry in both Scots and English, as well as songs, short fiction and plays. His poetry has appeared in several publications, including Acumen Poetry, New Writing Scotland, The Glasgow Review of Books, Gutter magazine and SurVision. He is currently one of four poets on the ‘Clydebuilt’ mentoring programme. He is a teacher out of necessity, a poet out of compulsion and plays drums for fun. He lives on the beautiful Ayrshire coast

Mirrorball Statement on Black Lives Matter

In our annual report this year we published this statement of intent which we wish to make public:

St Mungo’s Mirrorball acknowledges the need to commit to a more inclusive agenda in our future events and our organisation. In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and in response to a call to action from The Scottish BAME Writers Network, we are committed to ensuring our events and our network is inclusive and represents the diversity of the Scottish poetry community.

We will work with relevant organisations and seek new partnerships to help increase the diversity of the membership. Importantly we will aim to increase the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic guest poets reading at our events, and ensure events have a diverse voice reflecting the Scottish poetry community.


Clydebuilt 13 Ahoy!

St Mungo Mirrorball’s Verse Apprenticeship Scheme Clydebuilt

in partnership with the Edwin Morgan Trust

The Clydebuilt 13 Verse Apprenticeship Scheme Information Sheet

This year marks the beginning of our partnership with the Edwin Morgan Trust and, as part of the Edwin Morgan Centenary celebrations, we are excited to launch our call for emerging poets to apply for Clydebuilt 13. Edwin Morgan was an internationalist, writing across forms, themes, and languages and yet he was also very much a Glasgow-based poet; it is with this spirit that St Mungo’s Mirrorball designed the Clydebuilt Verse Apprenticeship Scheme. Founded in 2007, the scheme provides intensive support for poets at an early stage of their writing careers, encouraging a greater dialogue between them and more experienced practitioners. Mentors have included poets such as Liz Lochhead, Gerry Cambridge, John Glenday, Gerry Loose, Gerrie Fellows, A. B. Jackson, J. L. Williams, Miriam Gamble, and Alexander Hutchison.

The scheme recruits no more than four local (Greater Glasgow) poets who have yet to have a first full collection published (not counting pamphlet publication) and are not currently receiving any support with their development, e.g. not enrolled on an MLitt programme or fee-paying course. This mentoring will be given by an experienced poet-tutor over the course of 12 months, roughly from September 2020 to September 2021, and will consist of 5 group tutorials and 2 sets of one-to-one sessions which will be free to the participants. At these tutorials there will be a discussion of pre-submitted work with a mix of peer and tutor feedback. This will encourage participants to develop not only their own writing style but their ability to critique others. Over the year the participants will develop a portfolio of poems. Participants will give a reading of some of their resulting work along with their tutor at the end of the 12 months at a dedicated St Mungo’s Mirrorball event and, subject to discussion, as part of the Edwin Morgan Centenary celebrations.

A year of mentoring is a rare gift. I think my year on the Clydebuilt scheme enhanced my bravery: about when to be brutal and when to be playful; when to re-shape or abandon; to leave my ego outside the room and to trust the poem. Apply!

Mark Russell, Clydebuilt 5 (with Alexander Hutchison)

Clydebuilt gave me deadlines (which I need!) and a platform to try out new things in a friendly and supportive environment.

Juana Adcock, Clydebuilt 9 (with Liz Lochhead)



A panel will review the applications and decide whether any interviews are necessary. The chosen tutor/mentor will be involved in the final decision on the apprentices for their group.

 To be eligible to be an apprentice you cannot be involved in any other writing course or receiving any other structured writing support as of September 2020 and you should not yet have brought out a full-length poetry collection. You must also live in the Greater Glasgow urban area.

If you are interested in applying to be one of the four verse apprentices, please provide the following

  • Full contact details
  • A brief biography of your writing career to date
  • 5 poems as typical examples of your work
  • A statement of your short-term and long-term poetry goals
  • An outline of what you hope to achieve from the support over the next 12 months
  • A clear indication of the time commitment you are able to give both in terms of writing and attendance at the tutorial programme (September 2020 – September 2021)

E-mail your submission in one document to Clydebuilt Coordinator Samuel Tongue by the Closing Date of Sunday 28th June 2020.

If you have any query regarding eligibility do not hesitate to e-mail Samuel Tongue

Aye Write cancelled

Please note Aye Write has now been cancelled, check their website for details of refunds and future re-programming.


Mirrorball are supporting two events at Glasgow’s literary festival Aye Write. The first is a free, popular, open mic event, then later the same evening Helen Tookey and Anthony Anaxagorou – two excellent poets who have been shortlisted for major prizes – will be reading. The later event is ticketed (unfortunately your membership won’t gain you admission), but its only £6 so please do come along and support this event. Further details below.

St Mungo’s Mirrorball OPEN MIC 26th March 6-7pm

Jim Carruth introduces… Helen Tookey and Anthony Anaxagorou March 26th 7.45

There’s plenty more poetry events too at Aye Write, including Jim Carruth reading with Glasgow’s Gaelic laureate Niall O’Gallagher on 20th March, and reading with Scottish poet Andrew Grieg on 29th March. Don Paterson is also launching a new poetry collection, Zonal, on 29th March and Carcanet Press celebrate their 50 years in the publishing business with a book of correspondence Fifty Fifty, event on 27th March.

Many of our Mirrorball members will be reading, hosting or attending events at the inaugural Paisley Book Festival from 20-29th February with the theme Radical Voices and Rebel Stories, so do check out their exciting and diverse programme.

After that there’s StAnza International Poetry Festival in St. Andrews which runs from Wednesday 4th – Sunday 8th March. The themes this year are Coast Lines and Due North, the programme looks as various and fabulous as always and you’ll certainly find many Mirrorball members reading, hosting or attending events.

Hope to see you out and about over the next month.