St Mungo's Mirrorball

The Glasgow network of poets and poetry lovers

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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.

New Year New Mirrorball

The next Mirrorball Showcase will be on 6th February at 7pm in the CCA CINEMA, (ground floor). We’ll have four excellent poet readings for us: Moya Cannon, Sam Tongue, Finola Scott and Jock Stein. Entry is free for members; guests £7/£4.

 Moya Cannon is an Irish poet with six published collections, the most recent being Donegal Tarantella (Carcanet Press, Manchester, 2019).  The mountains, the sea and our primal and enduring responses to the beauty of the endangered earth are the inspiration for many of her poems.  Archaeology and geology figure too as gateways to deeper understanding of our mysterious relationship with the natural world and our past.

Music, particularly traditional Irish music, has always been a deep interest and is a constant theme. She has given many readings with musicians and singers, among them the harper Kathleen Loughnane, the traditional singers Maıghréad and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaıll and the RTE Con Tempo String Quartet.

She studied History and Politics at University College, Dublin, and International Relations at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Bilingual selections of her work have been published in Spanish, Portuguese and German.

She has received the Brendan Behan Award and the O’Shaughnessy Award and was Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University in 2011.  She has been editor of Poetry Ireland Review and is a member of Aosdána, the affiliation of Irish creative artists.

Sam Tongue has published two pamphlets: Stitch (Tapsalteerie, 2018) and Hauling-Out (Eyewear, 2016). His debut collection The Sacrifice Zone is forthcoming with Red Squirrel (2020). Some poems from this have been translated into Latvian and Ukrainian. He has published poems in numerous anthologies and magazines including And Other Poems, Blackbox Manifold, Cordite, Gutter, Ink, Interpreter’s House, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Magma, and Northwords Now. Samuel was awarded a Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers Award in 2013 and is featured in Be The First to Like This: New Scottish Poetry (Vagabond Voices, 2014). He is currently co-editor of New Writing Scotland and poetry editor at the Glasgow Review of Books.

Finola Scott poems are widely published including in Gutter, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Ofi Press, New Writing Scotland and the Fenland Reed. Recently she was a winner of the Blue Nib’s Chapbook competitions and a runner up in Coast to Coast’s pamphlet competition. Her pamphlet is forthcoming from Red Squirrel this winter. Her poetry can be found on fb  at Finola Scott Poems.

Jock Stein is a piper and preacher from East Lothian. He brings to his poetry experience of the Sheffield steel industry, life in East Africa, conference centre management, a sabbatical in Hungary, poetry on economic issues for Napier University. He writes poetry in many styles, serious and quirky,  convenes Tyne and Esk Writers and chairs the Wayfarer Trust. Currently he is engaged in research at Glasgow University on ‘The Psalms and Scotland’. Poetry Publications: Commentary, Swift, From Cosmos to Canaan.



Secret Stanzas

Mirrorball Showcase   Thursday 12th December   7pm CCA Clubroom Glasgow

Kei Miller will be headlining an event with support from Gerry Cambridge, Juana Adcock and Colin Campbell Robinson. This event will supported by the Scottish Poetry Library. Members free, Guests £7 (£4 conc.) There will also be a Secret Stanza event to raise money for Mirrrorball funds – see last blog post for details.

Kei Miller is a poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer and broadcaster. His many books include the novel Augustown (W&N, 2016) and poetry collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet, 2014) which won the Forward Prize (Best Poetry Collection of 2014). In 2010, the Institute of Jamaica awarded him the Silver Musgrave medal for his contributions to Literature. He has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Glasgow and is currently a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Exeter.

Gerry Cambridge is a poet, critic, essayist and editor with substantial interests in print design and typography as well as a background in natural-history photography. His publications include: Notes for Lighting a Fire (HappenStance Press, 2012), shortlisted for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust’s book of the year award 2013; Aves (Essence Press, 2007), prose poems about wild birds; Madame Fi Fi’s Farewell and Other Poems (Luath Press, 2003); and ‘Nothing But Heather!’: Scottish nature in poems, photographs and prose (Luath Press, 1999). Seamus Heaney wrote, of his long poem ‘Blue Sky, Green Grass’ (winner of the Calum Macdonald memorial award in 2004): ‘it’s a wonderful paean, and allows in so much that the usual poem keeps out — sheer, archaic joy: hymns to light, praise of the creatures, tales of the usual, names of the people and the places’. The TLS, reviewing Notes for Lighting a Fire, wrote: ‘[Cambridge’s] poetry has something of Robert Frost’s tone and seriousness, but rings with a deeply personal Scottish resonance all its own.’

Since 1994 Gerry has published and edited The Dark Horse, a twice-yearly transatlantic poetry magazine with an international reputation. He conducts poetry workshops with people of all ages throughout Scotland. His writing is informed by a lifetime interest in British nature, a subject he specialised in as one of the youngest ever regular freelancers (between 1983 and 1988) for the magazine Reader’s Digest, which then sold 1.5 million copies a month.

Juana Adcock is a poet, translator and performer who was born in Mexico and writes in both English and Spanish. In 2016 she was named one of the ‘Ten New Voices from Europe’ by Literature Across Frontiers, and she has performed at numerous festivals internationally. Her English language debut, Split came out in 2019. She lives in Glasgow.

Colin Campbell Robinson is an Australian artist who has settled on the Isle of Bute. Colin has had numerous pieces of writing and photography published in a wide variety of journals around the world. Most recently his work has appeared in Shearsman, BlazeVox 15 & 17, Glasgow Review of Books, Adjacent Pineapple, Ink Sweat and Tears, Molly Bloom and Empty Mirror. His book Blue Solitude was published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press in April 2018 and a second book, Footnotes from History, will be published soon. As well as his writing and photography Colin participates in a small, family based arts cooperative producing art installations, films and artist books. Their web site can be found at . Colin also spent thirty years as a social research consultant producing many social justice statements for non-government organisations both in Britain and Australia. In Australia he was a major commentator on homelessness, mental health and poverty and his reports had a significant impact on public policy, whilst in Britain his work led to the establishment of the only residential service catering for homeless EU citizens in London.

December Lineup

Mirrorball Showcase   Thursday 12th December   7pm

Kei Miller will be headlining an event with support from Gerry Cambridge, Juana Adcock and Colin Campbell Robinson. This event will supported by the Scottish Poetry Library; more details to follow.

We will also be having a Secret Stanza – details below

    *  Mirrorball Secret Stanzas  *

(all proceeds to Mirrorball general fund)

Mirrorball members encouraged to bring along one or more of the following,

anonymously wrapped: a pamphlet by themselves or a book by themselves or

a second hand poetry book (good quality and good condition). These will be put in a big sack and members will encouraged to buy a lucky dip

£2 for pamphlets

£5 for books

and everyone will go away happy with some new poems at Christmas.



Wednesday Mirrorball


The next Mirrorball will showcase poets: Miriam Gamble , Hugh Macmillan, Lisa Fannen and Derek Parkes. Please note it will be on Wednesday 27th November, at 7pm in the CCA Clubroom.

Originally from Belfast, Miriam Gamble lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Her collections are The Squirrels Are Dead (2010), Pirate Music (2014) and What Planet (2019), all published by Bloodaxe. She has been a mentor on the Clydebuilt and Ledbury Emerging Critics programmes and a judge on the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Award and the Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize.

Hugh Macmillan is a poet from Penpont in South West Scotland. His work has been published widely in Scotland and beyond, and he has won various prizes, most recently the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award in 2017 for Sheep Penned, published by Roncadora; he won the same award in 2009 for Postcards from the Hedge. He has been a winner in the Smith/Doorstop Prize and the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, and has also been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award and the Basil Bunting Award. He has had seven full poetry collections published, as well as numerous pamphlets. Not Actually Being in Dumfries: New and Selected poems was published by Luath Press in 2015.

Lisa Fannen writes, and shares words both solo and in collaboration with musicians. She launched a debut poetry collection, Faultline in November 2018 published by Active Distribution/Sto Citas, which includes snapshots, lyrics, journal notes and meditations. Her writing is political and personal (and an examination of where these territories meet), observational and contemplative. The poems travel through explorations of social inequality, police violations, street homelessness in the US, environmental disaster, as well as intimate experiences of queer sexuality, rites of passage and bereavement.

Derek Parkes

Born in London, Derek moved to Glasgow in 2003.  He is a reformed short story writer who discovered a penchant for poetry after joining Donny O’Rourke’s writing class.  He reads regularly at various poetry events in Glasgow and recently edited an anthology of the pupils of Donny O’Rourke, and performed a one-man show celebrating the life of Spike Milligan.  He is a former director and chair of The Scottish Writers’ Centre.  When he’s not working or writing poetry he is a keen birdwatcher. His first pamphlet is published by Red Squirrel Press.

 The next Mirrorball after this will be on Thursday 12th December – save the date.

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.