Since I moved to Montrose (in 2004) I haven't noticed any events connected to National Poetry Day - we get the lovely Scottish Poetry Library postcards in our library every year but not much else happens (that I'm aware of). This year I thought it might be good to mark the day locally and so I am organising a brilliant poetry event (hence the name of this page) at the Links Hotel in Montrose. I have written about it on my day-to-day blog already (here) but there's so much other stuff on there that I thought it might easily get lost in the crush. So...what, when and where?
National Poetry Day is technically on the 8th October but the event in Montrose will be the day after (for various reasons....and hence the name - "National Poetry Day - Plus One"). Our event will be on Friday 9th October at the Links Hotel, Montrose. Star poets will be (him again) the marvellous Hugh McMillan from Penpont, Dumfriesshire alongside the very popular local Montrose poet Raymond Vettese (who writes in Scots). Bascially I asked Hugh again because he was so, well, brilliant in Edinburgh last year and I think it's verging on criminal that he doesn't get more attention in Scotland (as a poet...). Scotland has a lot of very good poets but his work is up there with the best of them. I draw the line at wearing McMillan for Scottish laureate t-shirts (so far) but I will keep banging on about how good he is...for quite a while yet I should think. Raymond Vettese is in a slightly similar position poetry-profile-wise - he's a very good poet who's won prizes (Saltire first book award for 'The Richt Noise' in 1988) but he doesn't get quite the attention that he might. Neither poet is young and pretty (sorry guys) or lives in a big city with a...(clears throat) lively literary scene or works in a creative writing department (McMillan is a history teacher in Dumfries, Vettese a librarian in Montrose) and I think that's all part of it. But none of that should matter, should it? It's what a poet writes that matters, isn't it? And these men both write very, very good poetry and are both great performers/readers of their work. They can both appeal to a wide audience too - both write (I think) for people not publishers. But don't quote me on that.
And what about music, you shout from the back. This time there will be a song or three from Aberdeen-based Grace Banks (I first heard her up at Aberdeen's Dead Good Poets - she's a lovely singer and I'm really pleased she's agreed to be part of this) and Montrose's Charlie Williamson (I'd hoped for Pauline Hynd too but she's away). I will introduce/compere/host but not read a poetry set as such. Tickets are very reasonable (£3 from Henry Hogg's in Montrose or by emailing me at usual address - firstname.lastname@example.org) but the bar prices at the Links are fairly...ambitious so bring a few pennies with you. It's a great venue though with lots of room and full disabled access. Doors on the night will open at 7.30pm with mikes switched on at 8 or thereabouts. Hope to see you there.