There’s plenty of demand from audiences and more performers are coming through – now all it needs is a permanent Scots venue, finds David Pollock
The upsurge in spoken word and performance poetry nights in Scotland has been a slow-burn process since the start of the millennium, but the scene’s current sense of vibrancy, innovation and hard-won popular appeal was thrown into sharp focus in the final three months of 2015, with the appointment of Edinburgh-based poet Rachel McCrum as BBC Scotland’s short-term poet-in-residence.
“I wanted to focus the residency around ideas of community in Scotland, and how language works as a bonding experience or as an exclusion if you’re not part of that community,” says McCrum, who grew up in a Northern Ireland seaside town. “I ended up at football matches, exploring the bothy community, looking at the spoken word community up in Orkney and taking a group of schoolkids on a virtual psychogeography trip around Tollcross. It was bloody hard work, and it was great fun.”