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Tuesday, 23 January 2018


                                                       SCOTTISH POETRY LIBRARY

Michael Pedersen is a Robert Louis Stevenson Award winner, a John Mathers Trust Rising Star of Literature, a Canongate Future 40 and a Callum McDonald Memorial Award finalist. He has two successful chapbooks under his belt and a full collection, published by Polygon books, with a second forthcoming in 2017. With fans ranging from Irvine Welsh and Liz Lochhead to Stephen Fry and Young Fathers, Michael has also written pop songs for bands and short plays for National Theatre of Scotland (Five Minute Theatre) and Edinburgh Art Festival (co-written with Alan Bissett). In 2010, Michael co-founded, prize-winning, literary collective Neu! Reekie!, which, to-date, has produced over 100 shows (in Scotland and internationally) and birthed a burgeoning publishing house and micro record label. Michael has read in a range of places including: Sidewalk Cafe (New York), Meiji Gakuin University (Tokyo), Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (Bali), Lake of Star (Malawi), Latitude Festival (UK), BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 6, BBC Arts Night and beyond.

                                                  HIGHLAND COO POEM (Youtube)

                                                 THE SONGS OF MY WRITING LIFE



Leith's Lights

Down the Walk, by waterfront and shore
savants drink referendum whisky,
toolsmith talks his trade, hides a sea phobia
behind grimy nails and the intricacies
of laying the cobbled streets outside;
ex-docker taunts the splintered chinned sailor
who threw his hissing eyes straight back.
On the Link's ancient earthwork dog walkers pass swathed in local green,
tweed or seasonal macs; shoppers sift
with plastic bag crackles, like the simmering charcoals
of illegal barbeques in summer.
Leith: 'the Gateway to Fife' the golfing grail, Paolozzi's platform,
full of part-truths and devoted denizens,
known for brushing shoulders with Rio
: where oily dancers parade past Banana Flats
in feathered leotards; in silk shoes
take to Junction Street with pompoms
and the sound of steel drums.
I, too, share part-truths, among friends, in the King's Wark pub, where earlier today
over spiced nibbles, government gripes
were settled by the newly housed Scottish Exec.
At the next table, a residents committee
show symptoms of legislative fever; debate
construction timetables and parking permits
like leaders of nations.
Burgh Leith, Edinburgh's
Brother Leith, time casualty Leith
industry tortured Port Leith.
Shine now Leith with your Malmaison lights,
let your reincarnated waters
capture all our shadows skimming stones
and your steel play parks
spy sycamores drop helicopters
spiralling past the gloved hands of children,
laying new seeds on old soil.

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