St Mungo's Mirrorball

The Glasgow network of poets and poetry lovers

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Longley headlines

The next Mirrorball showcase, in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library, features Michael Longley reading alongside Rishi Dastidar, James McGonigal and Ciara MacLaverty. The event is on February 1st at 7pm in the cinema of the CCA, free to members, guests £7/£4 (*NOTE* change of room to cinema).

Michael Longley was born in Belfast in 1939 and educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Trinity College Dublin where he read Classics. He has published ten collections of poetry including Gorse Fires (1991) which won the Whitbread Poetry Award, and The Weather in Japan(2000) which won the Hawthornden Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Irish Times Poetry Prize. His Collected Poems was published in 2006. In 2001 he received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, and in 2003 the Wilfred Owen Award. He was awarded a CBE in 2010. He was Ireland Professor of Poetry, 2007–2010. He and his wife, the critic Edna Longley, live and work in Belfast.

Rishi Dastidar is a fellow of The Complete Works, a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine, a member of the Malika’s Poetry Kitchen collective, and also serves as a chair of the writer development organization Spread The Word. His debut collection Ticker-tape is published by Nine Arches Press, and a poem from it was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018.

James McGonigal is a poet, editor and critic, Emeritus Professor of English in Education at the University of Glasgow, Chair of the Edwin Morgan Trust, and Morgan’s biographer. James McGonigal taught English for fourteen years in secondary schools before working in colleges, and until retirement as Professor of English in Education at the University of Glasgow. He has published poetry and prose for adults and children (in both English and Scots language), and co-edited several anthologies of contemporary writing in the New Writing Scotland series in the 1990s. His poetry has won literary prizes in Scotland and Ireland, including the Michael Marks Poetry Award for Cloud Pibroch (Mariscat Press, 2010). Red Squirrel Press published The Camphill Wren in 2016. A friend of Edwin Morgan, McGonigal is currently Chair of the Edwin Morgan Trust. Sandstone Press published his biography of Morgan, Beyond the Last Dragon, in 2010. He has also co-edited Morgan’s letters: The Midnight Letterbox: selected correspondence 1950-2010 was published by Carcanet Press in 2015. His most recent collection Turning Over in a Strange Bed (Mariscat Press) came out December 2017. 

Ciara MacLaverty is proud to be 49, European and living in Glasgow. Her poems have appeared in The Herald, The Scotsman and Gutter.  Her first pamphlet, Seats For Landing came out in 2005 and, from it, the poem, Peeled was chosen for Scottish Poem of the Year. Paul Durcan wrote of ‘First Kiss’ –  it’s a poem that should be in every anthology of Love Poetry. Ciara was a Clydebuilt Mentee in 2016 and went on to win a New Writers’ Award from the Scottish Book Trust in 2017, culminating in the release of Past Love in The Museum of Transport from Tapsalteerie Press. The poems explore how past contentment is woven through us, becoming part of who we are, deepening with age and still enhancing life years on. Of the collection, mentor, Liz Lochhead says – The poems are light-but-deep, often funny, always generous, accessible, inclusive, deeply humane, celebrating small things that can say some very big things indeed.


Dunn in December

The next Mirrorball Showcase will feature readings by Douglas Dunn, David Kinloch, J L Williams and Matthew Griffiths. It will be held on December 7th, 7pm in the Clubroom of the CCA. Members free, guests £7/4.

Douglas Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, in 1942 and lived there until he married at the age of twenty-two. After working as a librarian in Scotland and Akron, Ohio, he studied English at Hull University, graduating in 1969. He then worked for eighteen months in the university library after which, in 1971, he became a freelance writer. In 1991 he was appointed Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. As well as ten collections of poetry, including Elegies (1985), The Year’s Afternoon, The Donkey’s Ears (both 2000), and New Selected Poems 1964-2000 (2003), Douglas Dunn has written several radio and television plays, including Ploughman’s Share and Scotsman by Moonlight. He has also edited various anthologies, including Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry (2006). Douglas Dunn has won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and has twice been awarded prizes by the Scottish Arts Council. In 1981 he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for St Kilda’s Parliament. In January 1986 he was overall winner of the 1985 Whitbread Book of the Year Award for his collection Elegies.

The Noise of a Fly is the first collection from Douglas Dunn in sixteen years, and the first since he was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2013. It is a book brimming with warmth, mischief and a self-deprecating humour, as well as with a charming, ‘Larkinesque’ crankiness: a quarrel with ageing, an impatience with youth, the grievousness of losing friends and colleagues. But for all its intimate, hearthside rumination, this is a volume of poems that looks outward in equal measure: at Scottish independence, British politics and an international refugee crisis, and reflects unflinchingly on what it is to consider oneself a contributor to society. Penned with a dexterous wit and a steady nerve, The Noise of a Fly is a mesmeric imagining of our later years by one of this country’s most senior and celebrated writers.

‘It is hard to think of many poets who can equal his combination of imaginative ambition, formal resource and range of tone . . . Written on these terms, poetry is a matter of permanent urgency.’ Sean O’Brien

‘The most respected Scottish poet of his generation.’ Nicholas Wroe

David Kinloch was born and brought up in Glasgow. A graduate of the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford, he was a teacher of French for many years and is currently Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at the University of Strathclyde. His publications include Un Tour d’Ecosse, In My Father’s House and Finger of a Frenchman, all from Carcanet. He launches his next book, In Search of Dustie-Fute (Carcanet) in August 2017.In 2004 he was a winner of the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Award. In 2006 he held a Scottish Writers’ Bursary from the Scottish Arts Council and in 2013 was awarded a Fellowship by the Arts and Humanities Research Coucil for his poetry.

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

Published widely in journals, her poetry has been translated into Romanian, Hungarian, Dutch, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, German, French and Greek and she has read at international poetry festivals in Scotland, Romania, Turkey, Cyprus and Canada. Williams wrote the libretto for a new opera, Snow, which premiered in London in Spring 2017, was Writer-in-Residence for the British Art Show 8 in Edinburgh with the artist Catherine Street and plays in the poetry and music band Opul.

Williams gives regular poetry readings and workshops and is on the Live Literature funded list of Scottish Book Trust Authors. She curates poetry events and creates workshops and professional development activities for poets.

Born in Birmingham, living in London, Matthew Griffiths spent a spell in St Andrews and did a doctorate in Durham. His collection Natural Economy and pamphlet How to be Late are published by Red Squirrel, recent poems have appeared in The Dark Horse and The Tree Line, and his critical book The New Poetics of Climate Change came out from Bloomsbury Academic this summer. He’s also written Doctor Who short stories for Big Finish.

November Mirrorball

The next St. Mungo’s Mirrorball is on the 16th November at 7pm, in the CCA and will feature: Pascale Petit, Claire Askew and Hamish Whyte. Free for members, guests £7 (£4 conc.) With such a great line-up we’re expecting this event to be busy, the venue has a limited capacity so please arrive early to guarantee entry.

Pascale Petit’s seventh collection, Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, 2017), was a Poetry Book Society Choice and draws on her travels in the Amazon rainforest. Her sixth, Fauverie, was her fourth to be shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and five poems from it won the Manchester Poetry Prize. In 2015 she received a Cholmondeley Award.

Claire Askew‘s poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Guardian, The Edinburgh Review, PANK and the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems anthology (2008, 2009, 2014, 2016). Her debut poetry collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe and shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, the Saltire First Book Award and the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize.

Hamish Whyte was born near Glasgow where he lived for many years before moving to Edinburgh in 2004. He has published several collections of poems, the latest being Hannah, Are You Listening? (HappenStance, 2014) and Things We Never Knew (Shoestring Press, 2016). He has also edited many anthologies of Scottish literature, including Mungo’s Tongues: Glasgow Poems 1630-1990, An Arran Anthology, Kin: Scottish Family Poems and, most recently, Scottish Cats (Birlinn, 2013). He runs Mariscat Press.

Unfortunately David Kinloch is no longer able to read at this event.

Next Mirrorball

Save the date for the next St. Mungo’s Mirrorball event on Thursday 16th November at 7pm in the CCA, Glasgow. We have a fantastic line-up planned with Pascale PetitDavid Kinloch, Claire Askew and Hamish Whyte. More details will follow soon…

Szirtes headlines 100th Mirrorball

George Szirtes will headline the 100th St. Mungo’s Mirrorball event with a poetry reading followed by an interview with Robyn Marsack. This will be supported by the launch of, and readings from, Honest Error – an anthology of poems inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. And we’ll be celebrating our 100th meeting by reading a poem for Alexander Hutchison. The event is on Thursday 12th October at 7pm in the Clubroom,  CCA, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Entry £7 / £4 conc. / free for members. There will be an opportunity for members to meet from 6.15pm to share their highlights from past events.

George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948, and came to England with his family after the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. He was educated in England, training as a painter, and has always written in English. In recent years he has worked as a translator of Hungarian literature, producing editions of such writers as Otto Orban, Zsuzsa Rakovszky and Agnes Nemes Nagy. He co-edited Bloodaxe’s Hungarian anthology The Colonnade of Teeth. His Bloodaxe poetry books are The Budapest File (2000); An English Apocalypse (2001); Reel (2004), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize; New & Collected Poems (2008) and The Burning of the Books and other poems (2009), shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2009. Bad Machine (2013) was a Poetry Book Society Choice and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2013. His latest collection, Mapping the Delta, Bloodaxe Books, 2016), is a Poetry Book Society Choice. Bloodaxe has also published John Sears’ critical study Reading George Szirtes (2008). Szirtes lives in Norfolk and is a freelance writer, having retired from teaching at the University of East Anglia.

Mirrorball member and Clydebuilt mentee Gillean McDougall devised the ‘Honest Error’ project while a student on the MLitt Creative Writing programme at The University of Glasgow. More than 30 writers contributed to a workshop and website, culminating in the first of five annual anthologies. For 2017, new writing was inspired by Glasgow architect and icon Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A selection of contributors will read from their work and the Honest Error anthology will be available to buy.



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National Poetry Day


On National Poetry Day – Thursday 28th September 2017 – St Mungo’s Mirrorball will host a Celebration of Russian Poets

The theme of National Poetry Day 2017 is ‘Freedom’. In response, Mirrorball is showcasing the lives and work of Russian poets. These include Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Anna Akhmatova, Irina Ratushinskaya, Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam and Boris Pasternak. The readers will be Valerie Thornton, Dai Vaughan, Alan McGlas, Stephanie Green, Robyn Marsack, James McGonigal and former Scottish Makar, Liz Lochhead.

Come along for what should be an entertaining early evening event.

6.00 – 7.00 pm Moir/Dyer Room, Mitchell Library, Glasgow – Entry Free Read the rest of this entry »

Autumn Mirrorball


Imperial Porcelain Factory plate, St Petersburg, 1921 (The British Museum)

We’re kicking off the Autumn season by celebrating National Poetry Day on Thursday 28th September 2017 (7.00pm) at the CCA. The theme of National Poetry day 2017 is ‘Freedom’. We thought it would be appropriate to combine this theme with the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution by celebrating the lives and work of dissident Soviet poets. More details to follow.

The following event will be on October 12th with acclaimed poet George Szirtes headlining, supported by the launch of Honest Error, an anthology of poetry celebrating the work of iconic architect Charles Rennie MacIntosh.

Further Mirrorball dates for the autumn / winter programme: 16th November, 7th December 2017 and 1st February 2018.

Clydebuilt & Hardie

Kerry Hardie, the Clydebuilt 9 mentees, and their mentor Liz Lochhead will all be reading at the last Mirrorball of the season on Thursday May 25th at 7pm in the Clubroom of the CCAThis event is preceded by the St. Mungo’s Mirrorball AGM at 6pm for those that can make it.


Kerry Hardie has published seven collections of poetry, her most recent being The Zebra Stood in the Dark , Bloodaxe Books. She has published two novels, (Harper Collins; Little, Brown) and is finishing a third. Her verse play [written with Olivia O’Leary], To Find a Heathen Place and Sound a Bell was broadcast in 2015.
Liz Lochhead and the Clydebuilt 9 mentees: Juana Adcock, R. A. Davies, Finola Scott, KatieAiles, Ciara MacLaverty.

Ciara MacLaverty was born in Belfast, grew up on Islay and lives in Glasgow. She is a current recipient of a 2017 New Writer’s Award form the Scottish Book Trust. Her poems have appeared in The Scotsman, New Writing Scotland and Gutter. On twitter she describes herself as Writer, Mother, occassionally other.

R.A. Davis was born in Edinburgh in 1983 to a Welsh mother and English father. Robin spent his childhood in the suburbs of Canterbury in Kent. At fourteen, his family moved to the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales, where his bedroom window looked out on the Irish Sea and the mountains of Snowdonia. In 2002, summoned by Scotland’s indie music scene, Robin came to study an undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow and has belonged to the city ever since. He gained his MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University part-time while working six days a week in a greengrocers’. He now earns a living as a bookseller. He has written for the Glasgow Review of Books, and both his poetry and prose have been published in Gutter.

Katie Ailes is a poet and PhD candidate currently based in Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the performance of authentic selfhood in contemporary U.K. spoken word poetry. Katie placed second in the 2015 Scottish National Poetry Slam and has performed across the U.KShe organises, composes, and performs with the spoken word collective Loud Poets. She released her first pamphlet, Homing, in 2015, and was published in the House of Three anthology series in 2016.

Finola Scott has been writing since she retired. Her short stories and poems are widely published in anthologies and magazines including The Ofi Press, Raum, Dactyl ,The Lake, Poets’ Republic, The Eildon Tree. A performance poet she is also proud to be a slam-winning granny.

Juana Adcock is a poet and translator working in English and Spanish. Her poems and translations have appeared in publications including Magma Poetry, Gutter, Glasgow Review of Books, Asymptote and Words Without Borders. Her first book, Manca, explores the anatomy of violence in Mexico and was named by Reforma’s distinguished critic Sergio González Rodríguez as one of the best poetry books published in 2014. In 2016 she was named one of the ‘Ten New Voices from Europe’ by Literature Across Frontiers.

Mirrorballs in May

Mirrorball will hold two events in May the first showcase, detailed below, is on Thursday 4th May at 7pm in the Clubroom of the CCA. Details of the Mirrorball event on 28th May, with the Clydebuilt 9 mentees and headliner poet Kerry Hardie, be posted soon.

Showcase 1 on May 4th will host Polly Atkins reading from her first collection of poetry, a posthumously published new collection of poems by Elizabeth Burns read by editors Gerrie Fellows and Jane Routh, Alan Riach reading from his recently published sixth book of poems, and Magi Gibson launching a new collection. It should be great night.

Polly Atkin grew up in Nottingham, then lived in East London for seven years before moving to Cumbria. Her debut poetry pamphlet bone song (Clitheroe: Aussteiger, 2008) was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award, 2009. Her second poetry pamphlet Shadow Dispatches (Bridgend: Seren, 2013) won the Mslexia Pamphlet Prize, 2012, and was shortlisted for the Lakeland Book of the Year, 2014. An extract from her 2017 first collection, Basic Nest Architecture, was awarded New Writing North’s Andrew Waterhouse Prize
Elizabeth Burns, a gifted and visionary poet, published four collections of poems, most recently Held (Polygon 2010) before her death in 2015. Her many pamphlets include The Shortest Days which won the inaugural Michael Marks Award and Clay, shortlisted for both the Ted Hughes and Callum Macdonald Awards. Lightkeepers is a new collection, published by Wayleave Press, which brings together poems written during the last years of Elizabeth’s life. Gerrie Fellows who edited the book along with Jane Routh, will be reading from the collection.

Alan Riach is the Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University, and Convener of the Saltire Society He is the author of numerous books and articles. He has recently published highly-acclaimed English-language versions of the great 18th-century Gaelic poems, Duncan Ban MacIntyre’s Praise of Ben Dorain and Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair’s The Birlinn of Clan Ranald and edited The International Companion to Edwin Morgan (2015) His sixth book of poems The Winter Book: New Poems, has just been launched.

Magi Gibson’s newest collection, Washing Hugh MacDiarmid’s Socks will be published in April 2017 by Luath. Previous collections include Chapman’s best-selling Wild Women of a Certain Age. Her poems have appeared in Modern Scottish Women Poets (Canongate), Scottish Love Poems (Canongate), The Edinburgh Book of Twentieth Century Scottish Poetry, (EUP), New Writing Scotland (ASLS) and many anthologies and magazines as well as The Scotsman and The Herald.

First Mirrorball of 2017

Sarah Howe, Cheryl Follon and Samuel Tongue will be the poets reading at the next Mirrorball on Thursday 9th February, 7pm in the CCA clubroom (members free, non-members welcome £5/3).

Sarah Howe is a British poet, academic and editor. Born in Hong Kong to an English father and Chinese mother, she moved to England as a child. Her first book, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus, 2015), won the T.S. Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times / PFD Young Writer of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. She has performed her work at festivals internationally and on BBC Radio 3 & 4. Having previously held fellowships at Cambridge University and Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute, she is currently a Leverhulme Fellow at University College London.
Cheryl Follon‘s most recent collection Santiago, published by Bloodaxe Books, is made up of 85 short prose poems that delight in the thing itself. These are simple and communicative poems, looking at the world from new angles and in a surprising way and one that hopefully delights. Previous to this, she has published two collections, also with Bloodaxe Books. She teaches in a further education college in Glasgow and a good deal of her free time is spent travelling.
Samuel Tongue is a widely published poet and poetry editor of the Glasgow Review of Books. He grew up rural South Wales. He ventured briefly into ministerial training for the Anglican Church, before deciding to focus his PhD on poetic retellings of ‘Jacob wrestling the angel’, analysing biblical stories within contemporary culture. His poetry has been widely published in journals including Envoi, Magma and Gutter, and the anthologies Be The First to Like This: New Scottish Poetry and Best British and Irish Poets 2016. He held the Callan Gordon Award as part of the Scottish New Writers Awards 2013, and teaches Bible, Literature, and Culture at the University of Glasgow

His first collection Hauling-Out has just been published by Eyewear.