St Mungo's Mirrorball

The Glasgow network of poets and poetry lovers

November Poets

St. Mungo’s Mirrorball is back on Thursday 14th November at 7pm with poets Frank Ormsby, Vicki Husband and Stephen Watt.  Frank Ormsby was revealed as the eighth Professor of Poetry for Ireland last month. Irish president Michael D Higgins made the announcement at a reception at Queen’s University Belfast, describing Mr Ormsby as “one of a golden generation of poets”.

“His poetry frequently engages in themes of origin, exile and elegy, often in a domestic setting,” he added. A central figure in Ulster poetry since the 1960s, Mr Ormsby took over from the current holder of Ireland’s Professor of Poetry, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, in October.

The Clubroom, CCA, Glasgow. Members free; guests £7 (£4 conc.)


Frank Ormsby
Frank Ormsby was born in 1947, in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, and was educated at Queen’s University in Belfast. He is Head of English at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. His books of poetry include the collections Ripe for Company (1971); A Store of Candles (1977); A Northern Spring (1986); and The Ghost Train (1995).He has also edited a number of anthologies, including Thine in Storm and Calm: An Amanda McKittrick Ros Reader (1988), The Collected Poems of John Hewitt (1991) and Northern Windows: An Anthology of Ulster Autobiography (1987).

In 1992 Frank Ormsby received the Cultural Traditions Award, given in memory of John Hewitt, and in 2002 the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry from the University of St Thomas at St Paul, Minnesota. Ormsby was editor of the Honest Ulsterman from 1969-89, and has edited the Poetry Ireland Review (Numbers 53-56). He also edited The Hip Flask: Short Poems from Ireland (2001), a collection of Irish lyric poems including work by W. B. Yeats, J. M. Synge and Seamus Heaney; and The Blackbird’s Nest (2006), an anthology of poems from Queen’s University, Belfast.  His latest collection is The Rain Barrel which was published by Bloodaxe this year


Vicki Husband

Vicki Husband has recently published Sykkel Saga with Mariscat Press, a pamphlet-long poem about a cycle trip through the Norwegian Arctic, incorporating Norwegian landscape, language and Norse myth. Vicki’s debut collection This Far Back Everything Shimmers (Vagabond Voices) was shortlisted for the Saltire Society’s Scottish Poetry Book of the Year Award 2016.


Stephen Watt is the current Makar for the Federation of Writers (Scotland) and Dumbarton Football Club’s Poet-in-Residence. He has four published collections, the most recent, Fairy Rock, is the world’s first crime book written entirely in verse. He has also curated the book ‘Ashes To Activists’ on behalf of the Joe Strummer Foundation.



National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day – Thursday 3rd October 2019

St Mungo’s Mirrorball Celebration of Chapbooks and Hamish Henderson

Moir Dyer Room,  Mitchell Library,  North Street 6.00pm-7.30pm

This year for National Poetry Day, St Mungo’s Mirrorball will be celebrating the writing and publishing of  poetry pamphlets and the life and work of the great folklorist and poet Hamish Henderson whose centenary it is.

We are delighted to announce that Sheila Wakefield, Poetry Editor and Proprietor of Red Squirrel Press will join us to say something about the business and process of poetry pamphlet publishing. Sheila will also read from some of Red Squirrel’s most recent pamphlets and have copies available for sale.

The main business of the evening is the celebration of chapbooks written by St Mungo’s Mirrorball members. There will be a table of pamphlets on display, and a selection of readings from these. There will be time at the end of the evening to swap, buy and order copies of pamphlets from each other.

There will also be a short reading from Hamish Henderson’s Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica. Henderson (1919-2002) was born in Blairgowrie, the illegitimate son of a domestic servant. He himself believed his father was an aristocrat and he was certainly looked after in terms of his education attending Dulwich College in London and Cambridge University. He became a young intelligence officer in the North African and Italian campaigns in the Second World War. His Elegies is his response to the carnage he witnessed in North Africa and honours the dead of both sides in a manner that refuses the usual jingoistic, heroic tropes. Henderson was an Internationalist and Socialist throughout his life and wrote both The Ballad of John McLean and Scotland’s great unofficial international anthem Come all ye at Hame wi Freedom.

National Poetry Day

The first St. Mungo’s Mirrorball of the new season will be held, as always, on National Poetry Day – Thursday 3rd October – in Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow; details to follow.

Further dates for the winter calendar are: 14th November, 27th November, 12th December and 6th February. All events will be in the CCA. Save the dates; details of readers to follow.



Membership 19/20

St. Mungo’s Mirrorball membership is now due for the season 2019/2020. The season traditionally starts with an event on National Poetry Day which this year will be Thursday October 4th – keep an eye on your inbox/the blog for further details. The season usually runs with 7 events from October through to May 2020.

The annual membership fee is £20, however the ethos of the Mirrorball is that this should not exclude those who cannot afford to pay the fee, and so a reduced rate can be agreed.

ONLINE payment:

If you have access to online banking, please feel free to pay your St Mungo’s Mirrorball membership fee directly into our account:  ACCOUNT NAME ST MUNGOS MIRRORBALL, SORT CODE 832316, ACCOUNT NUMBER 00226623.

If you are paying by direct transfer could you please include your name as part of the payee.

If using this payment method, please send an email to the membership secretary, Vicki for confirmation. This email should contain the name of the account from which the payment has been made and the amount transferred. Also include the name(s) for the Mirrorball membership list, if different from the account name.

Cheque payment:

Cheques should be made out to ‘St Mungo’s Mirrorball’ and sent to Vicki Husband, membership secretary. Please email for the address to send it to.

Also if you’re a new member, let us know your email address, and with your permission, we’ll put you on the mailing list for a weekly mail-out of poetry events in Glasgow.

Apply for Clydebuilt 12

Clydebuilt is an innovative mentoring programme in which promising poets are paired with an experienced mentor for a period of 12 months. The programme has been running for 10 years; the earlier groups named themselves after a Clydebuilt vessel. Applications for Clydebuilt 12 are now open; see Clydebuilt page for more details.


May Mirrorball

The next Mirrorball will feature Niall Campbell, Roseanne Watt, Martin Cathcart Froden and Heather Valencia introducing and reading the poetry of Avrom Sutzkever. This event will be on Thursday May 2nd in the CCA clubroom at 7pm; St.Mungo’s Mirrorball AGM will be held prior to the event at 5.45pm.

Niall Campbell is a poet originally from South Uist, one of the Western Isles. Moontide, his first collection, was named inaugural winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and Saltire First Book of the Year. Moontide was also shortlisted for The Forward and The Aldeburgh Best First Collection Prizes. His second collection, Noctuary, is published by Bloodaxe Books in Spring 2019.

Roseanne Watt is a poet, filmmaker and musician from Shetland. Roseanne was the winner of the 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, and runner-up in the 2018 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. Her first collection, Moder Dy, will be published by Polygon in May 2019.

Heather Valencia will deliver a short talk introduces the life and poetry of one of the greatest Yiddish writers of the twentieth century, Avrom Sutzkever(1913-2010), whose work spans his early childhood in Siberia, his youth in Vilna (Vilnius), Lithuania, the catastrophe of the Holocaust and his later life in Israel. The session includes readings of some poems from the recently published bilingual edition:  Avrom Sutzkever: Still my Word Sings. Poems. Yiddish and English. (Düsseldorf University Press, 2017).

 Heather Valencia was a lecturer in German language and literature at the University of Stirling. She began studying Yiddish in the 1980s, wrote her doctoral thesis on the poetry of Avrom Sutzkever, and has published widely on Sutzkever and other writers,  as well as translating modern Yiddish literature.  She has a regular Yiddish class in Edinburgh.

Martin Cathcart Froden is originally from Sweden and has lived in Canada, Israel, Argentina, and London. He is the winner of the 2015 Dundee International Book Prize with ‘Devil take the Hindmost’ as well as the 2013 BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition with ‘The Underwater Cathedral’. He was the 2017-18 National Trust for Scotland Poet-in-Residence, and the result is the collection ‘Light and Other Observations’. Martin has recently submitted his PhD in Creative Writing, Criminology and Architecture. He lives in Glasgow with his wife and three children.’

Next Mirrorball

Save the date for the next Mirrorball on Thursday May 2nd at 7pm in the CCA. Details of the line up to follow soon.

February Mirrorball

The next Mirrorball will be on Thursday 7th February in the CCA, with three poets: Ross Wilson, Gerrie Fellows and Vahni Capildeo. Entry is free to members, guests £7/£4conc.

Vahni Capildeo’s sixth full-length book of poems and tenth publication is Venus as a Bear (Carcanet, 2018), shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prizes Best Collection award. Capildeo’s current projects include traditional masquerade, a seventh book, Skin Can Hold, and an intersemiotic collaboration with Chris McCabe.

Gerrie Fellows reads from Uncommon Place, a new collection of poems from Shearsman, in which she explores the relationship of the walker with the shifting nature of the place through which she walks. Rooted in Scotland’s mountains and open spaces, its fenced enclosures and mined ground, Uncommon Place develops from earlier books what one writer has called ‘the most intelligent debate between technology and nature in poetry that I know.’ Gerrie’s five collections include The Body in Space and Window for a Small Blue Child. She lives in Glasgow and mentored a number of the Clydebuilt poets.

Ross Wilson’s first full collection is published by Smokestack Books. He comes fae Kelty in Fife and lives in Condorrat, North Lanarkshire, with his partner and daughter. He works full time as an Auxiliary Nurse in Glasgow Royal Infirmary.


December Mirrorball

The next St. Mungo’s Mirrorball Showcase is on Thursday 13th December at 7pm in the cinema of the CCA, Glasgow. This will include a reading by three poets: Colette Bryce, Kathrine Sowerby and Stewart Sanderson. The event is free to members, guests £7/4conc.

Colette Bryce is an Irish poet, currently based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her latest collection, The Whole & Rain-domed Universe (2014), which draws on her experience of growing up in Derry during the Troubles, was awarded a Ewart-Biggs Award in memory of Seamus Heaney. Selected Poems (Picador, 2017), drawing on all her books, received the Pigott Prize for Poetry 2018. Colette is a freelance writer, and former poetry editor of the journal Poetry London. She held the Heimbold Chair in Irish Studies at Villanova University in spring 2018.

Kathrine Sowerby is a writer living in Glasgow. Her poems and stories have been published widely in journals and anthologies and she has taken part in translation projects in Pakistan and Latvia. She has an MFA from Glasgow School of Art, an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University, and she won a 2013 New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust. She often collaborates with artist/writer Tessa Berring. Her chapbooks Unnecessarily Empatic and Tired Blue Mountain are published by Red Ceilings Press, her collection that bird loved by Hesterglock Press. Both her stories The Spit, the Sound and the Nest and her new book of poetry House However are published by Vagabond Voices.  

Stewart Sanderson   “Stewart Sanderson is a poet from Glasgow. His writing has been recognised by a number of prizes and awards, notably a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship and an Eric Gregory Award for his first pamphlet, Fios. His new pamphlet, An Offering, is [fingers crossed!] out now with Tapsalteerie.


November Mirrorball


The next St. Mungo’s Mirrorball event, featuring Zaffar Kunial, Richie McCaffrey and Sam Tongue, will be on Wednesday 28th November at 7pm in the CCA clubroom. This event is supported by the Scottish Poetry Library,

Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham and lives in West Yorkshire. His debut poetry collection ‘Us’ was published by Faber & Faber in 2018 and has just been shortlisted for TS Eliot award. Since his first public reading, of ‘Hill Speak’ at the 2011 National Poetry Competition awards, he has spoken at various literature festivals and in programmes for BBC radio, and won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for his poem ‘The Word’. 

Richie McCaffery hails from Warkworth, Northumberland and is busy working on an edited collection of essays reappraising the work of Scottish poet Sydney Goodsir Smith for publication by Brill / Rodopi as well as a selected edition of Joan Ure’s poems for Brae Editions. He has two poetry pamphlets (Spinning Plates from HappenStance Press and Ballast Flint from Cromarty Arts Trust, which was runner-up in the 2014 Callum Macdonald Pamphlet Award) to his name.. In 2014 his published his first full collection of poems, Cairn from Nine Arches Press. His second collection, entitled Passport came out on Nine Arches Press in July 2018.

Samuel Tongue’s first pamphlet collection was Hauling-Out (Eyewear, 2016) and his second, stitch, is out now with Tapsalteerie. Poems have featured in publications such anthologies such as Be The First to Like This: New Scottish Poetry, and the SPL’s Best Scottish Poems Anthology, 2016. Samuel held the Callan Gordon Award as part of the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards 2013. He is currently co-editor (with Susie Maguire) of New Writing Scotland and Project Co-ordinator at the Scottish Poetry Library.