I recently read an article on Edinburgh’s live poetry scene – not the best informed of articles, as it managed to omit two of the best regular events entirely. I’m going to say something about them here and also another event that has just started.
Caesura takes place on the second Friday of each month, usually upstairs at the Artisan Bar on London Road, but it has also been known to use the Yellow Bench Cafe on Leith Walk. The focus tends to be on poets writing from the fringes of the mainstream or, at least, in that uncategorisable hinterland “whaur extremes meet” (McDiarmid). You can always expect the unexpected; a few months ago, the Marvo Men came up with a unique performance using a script, pre-recorded material and material recorded on the night from other artists and the audience. The result was mesmerising (and also entertaining). Sometimes the attempts at experiment feel already well travelled, but more often than not make me feel glad I made the effort to come along. The bar is normally packed, the atmosphere is chaotic and MC Graeme Smith’s introductions contribute, engagingly, to a welcome lack of slick and polish. The next Caesura is on Friday 8 November, 7pm.
Syndicate is an altogether different kind of event, even if half the audience appear to be the same people that attend Caesura. It meets at Inspace, a university building, but this is no anonymous lecture hall. It’s a sparse, artistic space, the perfect venue for an events series that seeks to showcase performances in which the spoken word meets cutting-edge technology. Film, music, theatre, poetry, digital technology – all tinged with the avant-garde – combine to create an experience for an audience that’s unlikely to be replicated anywhere else in the city. Like Caesura, the experiments sometimes work astonishingly well and other times they fall flat, but what doesn’t work for me often works well for others. You won’t see or hear anything mainstream here. It’s an event to expand the imagination and it nearly always does that for me. Syndicate doesn’t have a regular day/time, even though it meets most months. It pops up when it feels like it. The next Syndicate is on Tuesday 22nd October, 7pm.
Poetry at the Sutton Gallery is organised by artist, poet and editor, Colin Herd. The gallery, situated on Dundas Street, also runs art exhibitions that change regularly. It's a small, intimate venue and you can look at the artworks during breaks between readings over a glass of wine. The first poetry event featured Andrew Spragg and McGillivray. The second takes place this Thursday 17th October, 7pm and will feature Samantha Walton, Lila Matsumoto and Jane Goldman.