Lecturers from UHI Inverness have played an instrumental role in forming the new Scottish Highlands and Islands Poetry Society (SHIPS) that will be launched on Saturday (18 November).
The society will bring together emerging and established poets from across the Highlands and Islandsto participate in online andin-person activities including open mic readings, workshops, shared writing sessions and networking gatherings that will allow poets to get to know their peers and their work.
It is also hoped it will encourage the reading and enjoyment of poetry by local writers through activities and events.
Creative Writing and Literature lecturer Mandy Haggith held the preliminary discussions in January to form the society and Paul Shanks, a lecturer in Literature and Drama, is the chair of the society’s steering group.
Mandy will chair the online launch between 10am and 12pm on 18 November and is one of a number of local poets who will give public readings during the in-person launch at Waterstones books store in Inverness from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.
The society’s poets, including Andrea Turner, Cáit O’Neill McCullagh, Chris Powici, Donald S Murray, Ian Stephen, James Andrew and Mandy Haggith, will share poems from their most recent publications and special debuts of new works in progress during the launch on the store’s mezzanine level.
Mandy, a co-founder of the society and a respected poet, novelist and non-fiction writer, said:
“Poets in the Highlands and Islands are a powerful part of our culture.
“We need to come together for mutual support and to amplify what we have to say, whether that’s in Gaelic, Scots or English, and to welcome others into the wonderful world of poetry.”
Paul, a published poet who has helped facilitate several community-based creative writing initiatives in Inverness, said:
“SHIPS has come together to foster connections and a sense of community amongst poets writing in the Highlands and Islands.
“The SHIPS steering group is currently planning a series of events and workshops, online and in-person, that will both celebrate and nurture the diverse range of voices active in our region.
“We also want to encourage the reading and enjoyment of poetry via activities and public events that bring people together and inspire them.”
The online event will begin with a short poetry reading in languages and dialects that reflect the cultural diversity of the region.
Mandy will welcome people to the launch by talking about its ethos, aspirations, future plans and membership.
Lydia Harris, a poet from Orkney, will speak about its online silent writing sessions and Nairn-based poet, James Andrew, will lead a 15-minute poetry writing workshop.
Cáit O’Neill McCullagh from Easter Ross will set out the planned series of online winter readings and open mics, and the online event will close with a workshop by Ardnamurchan and Cévannes-based poet Sharon Black.
To book a place at the online event visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scottish-highlands-and-islands-poetry-society-ships-online-launch-tickets-74
There is no need to book for the Waterstones launch.