St Mungo's Mirrorball

The Glasgow network of poets and poetry lovers

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.

December Showcase

William Letford will be reading at St Mungo’s Showcase 7, alongside Mark Russell, Kathrine Sowerby and Andrew Sclater on Thursday 8th December at 7pm in the CCA Clubroom.

William Letford’s debut collection Bevel was published by Carcanet in 2012. In 2014 a chapbook of his poetry Potom Koža Toho Druhého was translated in Slovakian and published by Vertigo. His second collection Dirt was published by Carcanet in August 2016.

Mark Russell has published two chapbooks with Red Ceilings Press, ا (the book of seals) (2016), and Saturday Morning Pictures (2015). His pamphlet Pursued by Well-being was published by tall-lighthouse (2013). Two more publications are due out later in 2016, ℵ (the book of moose) with Kattywompus Press, and his first full collection Spearmint & Rescue with Pindrop Press.

Kathrine Sowerby is a writer living in Glasgow. Her poetry chapbooks include Unnecessarily Emphatic (red ceilings press), Margaret and Sunflower (dancing girl press) and Tired Blue Mountain (red ceilings press). Her book of stories The Spit, the Sound and the Nest will be published in 2017 by Vagabond Voices.

Andrew Sclater, a former recipient of Scottish Book Trust and New Writing North awards for new writers, divides his time between Galloway and Edinburgh. Raised in England, his family origins are in Orkney and Wigtownshire. He has had poems in Ambit, Best Scottish Poems, Magma, Poetry Review, Shearsman, The Dark Horse and other places. He is a co-founder and former editor of Butcher’s Dog magazine. His debut pamphlet is published by HappenStance in November.

November showcase


Our next Mirrorball showcase should be another wonderful evening with a rare visit from New Zealand Poet Bill Manhire reading along side Liz Lochhead and Sheila Templeton, on Thursday 17th November at 7pm in the CCA Clubroom (non-members £5/£3 conc).
Bill Manhire was born in Invercargill in 1946. He was his country’s inaugural Poet Laureate and has won the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry four times. He holds a personal chair at the Victoria University of Wellington, where he directs the celebrated creative writing programme and the International Institute of Modern Letters. His volume of short fiction, South Pacific, was published by Carcanet in 1994.

Liz Lochhead was born in Motherwell in 1947. While studying Drawing and Painting at the Glasgow School of Art she began to write seriously, gradually losing her way with her initial dream of becoming a painter. Her first book of poetry, Memo for Spring, was published in 1972 and sold 5,000 copies. The Scottish-Canadian Writers Exchange Fellowship,1978–9, marked her transition to full-time writer.

Since her first full-length play Blood and Ice appeared in 1984 she has written numerous original plays and many adaptations from Molière, Chekhov, Euripides and Sophocles. Her best known original plays include: Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, Perfect Days and the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award-winning Medea (Nick Hern, 2000). Her poetry collections include: Dreaming Frankenstein (Polygon, 1984), True Confessions and New Clichés (Polygon, 1985), Bagpipe Muzak (Penguin, 1991), The Colour of Black & White (Polygon, 2003) and A Choosing (Polygon, 2011). In 2005 Liz became Poet Laureate of Glasgow, and in 2011 she was appointed Scotland’s Makar, succeeding Edwin Morgan. Liz Lochhead was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry (2015). Liz is proud to be Honorary President of the Scottish Poetry Library. Her stunning new collection “Fugitive Colours” marks the end of Liz Lochhead’s term as Makar (Poet Laureate, 2011–2016) and features never before published work alongside poems written during her time as Makar.

‘Liz Lochhead has made a unique contribution to Scottish poetry. Since the early 1970s she has influenced an entire generation of other writers, bringing a new kind of poetry performance to the stage, as well as a different set of rhythms to the page. From the start, she spoke in her own feisty, female voice, mixing old Scots with new Scots – as aware of Burns as of Morgan – and she did this with a galvanizing spirit and vitality that helped to change the landscape of British poetry’ – Carol Ann Duffy

Sheila Templeton was born in Aberdeen and mostly raised in Aberdeenshire, with a few years in East Africa. She currently lives in Glasgow. She writes in both Scots and English and has twice won the McCash Scots Language poetry competition, in 2007 and 2014, as well as other prizes in that competition. She also won the Robert McLellan poetry competition in 2007. Her work has been published in many anthologies, magazines and newspapers. From 2009 to 2010 she was the Makar for the Federation of Writers, Scotland.

She has three poetry collections published and two further collections are scheduled for publication in 2016, Owersettin, a translation collaboration in English, Gaelic and Scots with two other poets, by Tapsalteerie Press; and Gaitherin, a full collection by Red Squirrel Press.

October Mirrorball

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J O Morgan headlines the next Mirrorball showcase on 27th October at 7pm in the CCA, free to members (£5/3 on the door). Marion McCready, Vicki Husband and Em Strang will also be reading from their new/forthcoming collections.

Jo Morgan lives on a small farm in Scotland. His works are each singular book-length poems, more in the epic tradition than the lyric, though utilising elements of both.
These include a biographical sketch of a wild Hebridean childhood in which a boy chooses to take his education not from the schoolhouse but from his relationship with
the land; and a re-telling of The Battle of Maldon, which uses the old Anglo-Saxon poem of that name as a source of raw information rather than as a template.
Last year saw the publication of In Casting Off, ‎a “poem-novella” set in a remote fishing community. More recently still, this year saw the publication of Interference
Pattern: “a collage of voices”‎ where the many small narrative elements coincide and overlap. The book was chosen as The Observer’s Poetry Book of the Month for this
February and was described in their review as “bracingly original poetry that addresses everything from bullies to the big bang”.

Marion McCready lives in Argyll. She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award (2013) and the Melita Hume Poetry Prize (2013). Her debut poetry collection, Tree
Language, was published by Eyewear Publishing (2014). Her next collection, Madame Ecosse, is due to be published Autumn 2016 also by Eyewear Publishing.

Vicki Husband’s first collection of poetry This Far Back Everything Shimmers was published by Vagabond Voices in 2016. Vicki’s poetry has appeared in literary magazines, included in an anthology of new Scottish poetry Be The First To Like This, and won prizes in The Mslexia Poetry Competition, the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Prize and The Pighog / Poetry School Pamphlet Prize. Recently Vicki collaborated with poets from Pakistan in a project run by Highlight Arts, creating versions of Urdu poems in English, culminating in readings at The Alchemy Festival 2015 in London, and a publication launched at The Lahore Literature Festival 2016.

Em Strang is a poet, Dark Mountain editor and prison tutor. Her writing preoccupations are with ‘nature’, spirituality and the relationship between the human and
nonhuman. Her illustrated pamphlet, Stone, was published in March 2016 by Atlantic Press with all proceeds going to Scottish charity, Trees For Life. Bird-Woman, her
first full collection, was published by Shearsman in early October 2016.