Colin Herd & Iain Morrison new collaboration for Euro Lit Night

Here’s the trailer (our fourth such, if I’m counting correctly!) for the new poem performance Colin Herd and I are presenting at Summerhall in Edinburgh this Thursday, 14 May 2015, for European Literature Night.

If you’re in town or can get here, it’s free to come along and there will be a diverse host of poets offering a host of interesting content. I say this confidently because there has been at any other event I’ve been at which SJ Fowler has hosted. If you can’t make it, then please enjoy being teased by the trailer in the finest traditions of marketing!

Full info here.




Participation in European Literature Night events, 14th and 15th May 2015

European Literature Night is coming to Edinburgh this coming week. I’m helping to organise some of it and am reading in not one, but three events. There’s fulsome information from overall organiser SJ Fowler below.

The Iain Morrison involvement in a nutshell is: Thursday 14th 6pm reading at The Fruitmarket Gallery, 8.30pm reading (with Colin Herd) at Summerhall; Friday 15th 2.30pm reading at Little Sparta, Ian Hamilton Finlay’s garden just outside Edinburgh. Will be a busy night and much fun! Am particularly looking forward to reading at The Fruitmarket Gallery, where I’ve worked for the last five years. Now I shall be testing my mettle by performing on the other side of the clipboard, with a new set of poems which respond to artist Mira Shendel’s work in the Gallery’s current Possibilities of the Object exhibition.

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–Fulsome Information–

European Literature Night 2015 will be a unique evening of live contemporary literature in Edinburgh, with over 30 poets performing at five events, from a dozen European nations, all on one night.

Part of the continent-wide European Literature Night program, held in 75 cities during mid-May, and supported by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature trust, our program brings together some of the most forceful European avant-garde, literary and sound poets, to share their work, to read alongside and to collaborate with a swathe of Edinburgh’s equally brilliant poetry scene.

Four simultaneous events take place in the early evening of Thursday May 14th, around 6pm, with solo readings, before all poets and audiences will congregate at Summerhall for the epic finale of the night, with 11 pairs of poets presenting brand new Camarade collaborations, starting around 8pm.

Every event is free of charge, so join us at The Fruitmarket Gallery, The Saltire Society, The Sutton Gallery and The Forest before seeing the night in at Summerhall, with poets from France, Spain, Iceland, Austria, Germany, Sweden and of course, Scotland.

European Literature Camarade! Summerhall – 8pm doors for an 8.30pm start – Free entry

In the Demonstration room

Following the amazing success of the Auld Enemies project in Summerhall in 2014, we return to the Demonstration room for the grand finale of this ambitious evening. Brand new collaborative work will be presented by pairs of poets from across the continent. Featuring:

Colin Herd & Iain Morrison

Ryan Van Winkle & Calum Rodger

Graeme Smith & Andres Anwandter

nick-e melville & Anne Laure Coxam

Valgerður Þórodds & Katy Hastie

Esther Strauss & Ann Cotten

SJ Fowler & Jorg Piringer

Max Hofler & Robert Herbert McClean

Eduard Escoffet & Martin Bakero

JL Williams & Jessica Johannesson Gaitán

The Saltire Society Caesura on Sound poetry: supported by the Scottish Poetry Library

6pm – Free Entry

Enjoy some of Europe’s most dynamic and pioneering sound poets, coming together for one night to present their innovative musique concrete, from Paris, Barcelona and Vienna. Featuring Eduard Escoffet (Barcelona), Martin Bakero (Paris) Jorg Piringer (Vienna) & curated by Graeme Smith (Edinburgh) as part of the Caesura series.

The Sutton gallery on 20th century art:

6pm – Free entry

Join us for performance art from Esther Strauss (Vienna), readings from Tomasz Mielcarek (Poland), Robert Herbert McClean (Belfast), and the launch of Colin Herd & SJ Fowler’s collaborative book Oberwildling: on the life of Oskar Kokoscka, published by the Austrian Cultural Forum all in the environs of one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful galleries.

The Fruitmarket Gallery on Possibilities of the Object:

6pm – Free entry

At one of Edinburgh’s cultural hubs, The Fruitmarket Gallery, hear readings from Valgerður Þórodds (Reykjavik), Max Hofler (Graz), nick-e melville (Edinburgh), Jean-François Krebs (Paris/Edinburgh) and Iain Morrison (Edinburgh), all responding to the exhibition on display.

The Forest Café on Activism / Craftivism

6pm – Free entry

At an Edinburgh staple, join Ryan Van Winkle and other Scottish poets, alongside Austrian Ann Cotten, for readings on the theme of activism. Featuring Thomas MacColl, Ed Smith, Rachel McCrum & Ryan Van Winkle (Edinburgh), Katy Hastie & Calum Rodger (Glasgow) & Ann Cotten (Berlin)

European Literature Night is supported by Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Scottish Poetry Library & many others.

Poetry at Little Sparta – May 15th 2015

“Set in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, Little Sparta is Ian Hamilton Finlay’s greatest work of art. Imbued with a high idea content, the garden is created from the artistic fusion of poetic and sculptural elements with those of the natural landscape which is shaped and changed to become an inherent part of the concepts realised at Little Sparta.”

The day following European Literature Night, we will be presenting this unique poetry event at Little Sparta. The performances will begin at 2.30pm and finish 4.30pm, taking the form of a series of short readings given as a tour of the gardens. This will be a unique mini-festival poetry celebration of one of the most extraordinary landscapes in Britain with an amazing array of contemporary European poets.

Readings & acoustic sound performances from Andres Andwandtner, Martin Bakero, Eduard Escoffet, Graeme Smith, Calum Rodger, Ryan Van Winkle, SJ Fowler, Colin Herd, Iain Morrison, Esther Strauss, Katy Hastie, Robert Herbert McClean, nick-e melville, Valgerður Þórodds & more.

Please note entrance to the garden is £10 and if you can’t make your own way, you can join the poets on a pre-booked coach to the location by emailing me at The coach will meet at 1pm in Edinburgh city centre, at Waterloo place, and depart Little Sparta at 5pm. All are welcome. Thanks to the Little Sparta Trust, Calum Gardner & Graeme Smith.

SJ Fowler on his Berlin experiences

Sharing here Steven Fowler’s interesting blog postings about his activities in Berlin. The most recent, summing up a visit to the provocative and well-organised literaturhaus the Lettrétage, where I was happy to be hosted last year for at the SOUNDOUT! Festival. The Lettrétage have been continuing their work of bringing programmers and literary practitioners from Europe together to enlarge their networks and draw inspiration from each others’ work and realities. Work which is really pretty potent, especially if you get caught up in its enthusiastic rearrangement of mainstream received wisdoms. Certainly sharpened my thinking.

Not that Steven ‘SJ’ Fowler’s thinking needed particular sharpening up. In fact, I found I understood a lot more about his motivations for managing the apparently huge workload of instigating and organising I’ve witnessed, when I read his writing here on the threads of the Berlin conversations that struck him as familiar ground: ‘people before poetry, process over product, respect in the world, disrespect in the text…’.

That’s just one of several points in his Berlin write-ups that I took away as particularly rich and compacted language use with implications that I wanted to spend further time thinking and living on.

Read the whole Berlineries here. Thanks Steven for energy plus lucidity.

Veni, Vidi, Lectiti! Iain’s London visit, 24–28 October 2014.

I’m back from London now. What an excellent and self-expanding few days they were.

From Friday to Tuesday I was meeting and listening to (and hanging out with!) many articulate and interesting people, poets and other unacknowledged legislators of the world (thanks Shelley). London didn’t disappoint in its concentrations of talent.

Three events! Here’s documentation and some comment on the trio of readings I took part in. I’ve put in hyperlinks for extra info on the things I mention.

Camaradefest II was the biggie and main reason I ventured south. SJ Fowler had for the second year pulled together a diverse and strength-showing 100 poets, all performing brief outcomes of paired collaboration in hour-long blocks across the day. The forms the readings took were many. For me any criticisms about a brandedness of the event were obviously and swiftly overturned by the diversity of fronts (political, formal etc.) the presentations opened up. Some personal favourites of mine were Kirsty Irving & Harry Mann (also loved instantly by a friend who’d come along with me, which gave me added pleasure!), Olga Peck & Zuzana Husarova who brought a movement into their performance completely symbiotic with the words, and Sean Bonney & nick-e melville who appealed to my music-loving self with a drop-dead gorgeous ballad which kicked over any notion of a divide between the personal and political while also telescoping history – really genius.

The set I was in in collaboration with Colin Herd was the last of the night and there was a lot of musicy stuff for our piece to play along with. Here’s the video. We arrived at something, sounding like Steve Reich minimalism regularly interrupted by exclamatory words, via a poem by Brodsky called Elegy for John Donne. It’s an iambic pentameter poem. Most of the syllables in it we suppressed into the number 1 with a few words showing through to disrupt the typographic snow drift. Here’s an excerpted page of it so you can see what our performing score looked like. Well, before the vigourous pencil markings/barlines etc!

Censorable Poem, Iain Morrison & Colin Herd Iain Morrison & Colin Herd reading Censorable Poem at Camaradefest II

On Sunday morning we organised a Scottish Poetry Power Breakfast at the ICA for the many Scotland-based poets (and extended poetry family connections!) who were down for Camaradefest. Here’s a photo taken at the end with almost all of the readers (thanks Amy Hillman!). Poets at the Scottish Poetry Power BreakfastLeft to Right: Angus Sinclair, Luke Allan (partially obscured 😉 ), Laura Elliott, Graeme Smith, Iain Morrison, Colin Herd, Ryan van Winkle (peeking), Mike Saunders, Emilia Weber, Tom Betteridge, nick-e melville, Francesca Lisette and Samantha Walton.

Many croissants were consumed, we had a great and generous confraternity/consorority/consorty audience. Thanks espesh to SJ Fowler for getting along after what must have been a v. tiring day before. I was very glad he got to give his own placed and pitched reading after programming 100 people the day before.

Finally, I read at The Hardy Tree Gallery, St Pancras on Monday night. It was a closing reading for the Tom Jenks’ ZimZalla press exhibition, presenting ZimZalla’s innovative publishing over the last few years. He’s a poet I’ve enjoyed at a couple of Edinburgh readings before where the work he’s presented has been a delicious concotion of tightly formally constructed nonsense images which shows up the sheer width of breadth of image/disjucture available to us. Maybe it’s not unconnected that his ZimZalla press actually publishes poetry objects, pushing the content into very solid visual demands for our attention. Again, SJ Fowler had organised the running order, and thanks to his bulging little black book, there was a complex of different voices, among whom Lucy Harvest Clarke came as the strong pin between the exhibition and reading poets, launching her New World Banner ZimZalla publication on the night. She also performed a crazily moving poem to a murdered friend that she’d written on black painted Russian dolls, unlidding and placing each doll before carrying on with the text from a smaller doll inside. Thanks to SJ Fowler for the video documentation of my reading once again.

I’d strongly recommend that anyone interested in seeing a range of experimental (whatever that means, and that’s the joy of it!) work being written now, checks out the many many videos of poets on his YouTube channel. I think Mike Saunders and Amy Hillman worked their way through all the Hidden Door ones in bed. That’s my plan for the Camaradefest bits I missed if I can get it past the boyfriend. Who needs Buffy?! (I’ve literally never watched Buffy…)

To sum up this post, it was particularly good to come into connection and community with so many of the poets from London and elsewhere that I’d heard about for some time but not managed to see the work of. A true convocation. This trip has changed things for me, brought me into awareness of ways of thinking, and of debates I previously hadn’t been fully exposed to. I’m excited to feel more owned by a broader poetry body and to see how I can affect it and be affected by it.

Iain on tour in London

This coming weekend I’ll be decamping to London to take part in a trio of poetry events, all reifications of different, slightly envelope-opening thinking.

They are:

1) Camaradefest II, at the Rich Mix Arts Centre on Saturday night.

2) a Scottish Poetry Power Breakfast at the ICA on Sunday morning. Free coffee and pastries!


3) a come-all-ye closing reading at the ZimZalla exhibition at Hardy Tree Gallery on Monday night.

To tease you, here’s the teaser trailer for my Sat night collaboration piece with the ever-trusty Colin Herd on my right hand side (your left)

or your could just watch this documentation of our last collaboration at one of SJ Fowler’s Camarade events.

Hope to see some London, blog-reading faces. Be well everyone!