15th – 17th October 2021

Push the Boat Out is a brand new poetry festival, showcasing fresh, provocative, radical, audacious, and inspiring poetry, hip hop and spoken word, bringing people together to enjoy, experience and interrogate it. Featuring 60 of the UK’s leading poets in three days of events including performances, discussion, installations, film, audio, walks and workshops. Get in the boat, companeros. 

What’s on…

Event Category:

Fri 15 Oct 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

In this bespoke iteration of Newspeak for Push the Boat Out, Pip calculates the value of the work presented by our participating festival poets, asking What are words worth in a digital age? Join us as the artist discusses her practice and the interrogation – and co-opting – of language in turbulent times.

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Fri 15 Oct 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Venue

Histology Lab

In this two-part workshop, Scotland’s Makar Kathleen Jamie will guide participants through writing poetry, and bookbinding wizard Rachel Hazell will help participants to ‘bind’ their new work as book art. Kathleen Jamie will focus on the process of translating thoughts into words on a page and Rachel Hazell will help participants make that page into something beautifully, uniquely, and vulnerably personal.

Event Category:

Fri 15 Oct 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Venue

Demonstration Room

Open Book groups write together in community settings across Scotland – from Ullapool to Eyemouth, and from the islands off Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway – with groups running in English, Gaelic, Scots and Arabic. Push the Boat Out has partnered with Open Book to help run workshops and engage participants in not only collaborative multilingual writing, but collaborative multilingual performance.

Event Category:

Fri 15 Oct 2021 @ 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

Commissioned by Push the Boat Out, Alec Finlay has composed a poetic manifesto on the importance of urban green space during the pandemic. With specific reference to the urban croft in Leith, it discusses how green space is integral to addressing pandemic politics, culture, and healing.

Event Category:

Fri 15 Oct 2021 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Push The Boat Out: Edinburgh's International Poetry Festival

Venue

Red Lecture Theatre

A selection of short films inspired by poetry, including: What’s Wrong With Raymond. Ashes To Fire, 50 Ways To Wank, and Image Of Here and Now.

Event Category:

Fri 15 Oct 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

The Poetry Food Exchange is an installation which simultaneously challenges perceptions of transaction in both food and literature and encourages collaborative sharing. Sean Wai Keung, a Glasgow-based poetry, performance and food-maker, is in charge of the Exchange. Patrons will write down a memory or experience to do with food, and in return they will receive a fortune cookie with a line of poetry inside as well as a cup of warm broth.

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Fri 15 Oct 2021 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Venue

Red Lecture Theatre

The untapped poetry in the lives of ordinary people, leading seemingly ordinary lives, is expressed as high art in this gentle story of an aging woman who discovers the poetry within herself. Heartbreaking and inspiring but without an ounce of sentimentality, Yun Junghee’s memorable performance as Mija, whose life becomes ever more complicated by circumstances out-with her control, is as understated as it is powerful.

Event Category:

Fri 15 Oct 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

And what a year (and a bit) it has been! Push the Boat Out seeks to celebrate and interrogate the role that poetry plays in helping us reflect on, challenge, and make sense of the world around us. In Poems from a Dangerous Year, some of our finest poets will do just that, selecting and presenting work that considers the past tumultuous 18 months.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

Fiona Benson’s astonishing poems, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize are searing in their intensity. Andrew McMillan’s explorations of contemporary masculinity, gay experience, and male bodies in Physical and Playtime have made an indelible impression on UK poetry.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

Poetry has been a source of consolation and solace, community and reflection since time immemorial. How does poetry provide healing and recovery? What can poetry do like no other art form? Or does framing poetry in this way suggest saccharine Hallmark nonsense? Four leading poets – Billy Letford, John Glenday, Clare Pollard and Tawona Sithole – dive in, sharing their own work and other poems which have healed their souls.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Push The Boat Out: Edinburgh's International Poetry Festival

Venue

Demonstration Room

The world of poetry criticism is often a turbulent place. Who is reviewed, who does the reviewing, the role of prizes and what constitutes ‘quality’, the role of the critic, who is being excluded or amplified – we’ve come a long way from ‘but does it rhyme…’ Naush Sabah (Poetry Birmingham), Gerry Cambridge (Scottish Letters), Colin Herd (University of Glasgow).

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Venue

Histology Lab

Using a multilingual framework, haiku, and concrete poetry, Kevin MacNeil will explore the subtle ways poems build meaning by interacting with sound and, above all, resonant, though sometimes hidden, shape. Feel free to bring your own language backgrounds into the mix to discover how poetry can make meaning quietly but lastingly transcendent.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Venue

Summerhall
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

In honour of the Poetry Mile interactive poem-y app, we bring you a one-off celebration reading, feasting and game of skittles. The venue, of course, Scotland’s oldest inn—The Sheep Heid, situated in the historic Duddingston Village. A short game of skittles will be punctuated by readings from three prize-winning, Edinburgh-based poets and contributors to the app: Michael Pedersen, Janette Ayachi, and Peter McKay, one of the three having being Chief Pin Monkey at this very skittle alley for a period of their youth.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

Endlessly inventive, the late great Edwin Morgan published ‘Virtual and Other Realities’ in 2011, challenging convention and pushing the boat out to the last. Join this panel for a more on-the-nose exploration of one of the themes of our festival, with a focus on the ‘other realities’ revealed in the poetry of three very contemporary writers – Sam Riviere, Suzannah Evans and Nicky Melville, chaired by Scott J Lawrie.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

Poetry is a space of dissonance and reckoning. In this event presented by the Obsidian Foundation, a retreat for black poets who want to advance their writing practice, Raymond Antrobus does us the unique honour of launching his most recent publication, All the Names Given.

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Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Venue

Histology Lab

Adult poets are often afraid to experiment with onomatopoeia, alliteration, neologisms or nonsense, thinking they belong in children’s poems. In this session Clare Pollard, poet and author of Fierce Bad Rabbits: The Tales Behind Children’s Picture Books, will challenge this and delve into poets who draw powerfully on the language of childhood, from Ted Hughes to Rita Dove.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

In a moment that is demanding you constantly choose your side, how do you find your humanity, your own voice, when you are being pushed to find safety in numbers? Push the Boat Out is thrilled to be able to support and develop, in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland, a brand-new live performance commission from one of Scotland’s most exciting and challenging voices. In Blood, Salt, Spring Hannah Lavery (The Drift, Lament for Sheku Bayoh) journeys to discover her authenticity and her ‘tribe’.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

What do we revere? Cynthia Miller’s Honorifics, shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize Best Collection, is experimental and elevating, exploring family, Malaysian-American heritage, and the pull between the everyday and the miraculous. Seán Hewitt, critic for the Irish Times and author of Tongues of Fire, a meditative, clarifying collection which intertwines meditations on family, loss, grief and Irish myth, is as insightful as it is lyrical.

Event Categories:
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Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:50 pm

Venue

Red Lecture Theatre

Director Pablo Larrain discards the standard biopic formulas and depicts a fabulously mythologised version of the great Chilean poet and activist Pablo Neruda. Told from the perspective of Neruda’s police antagonist, played sympathetically by Gael Garcia Bernal, the movie captures the spirit of the poet, his extraordinary influence on Chilean politics of the time, and fuses film noir with poetic fantasy.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

Deep Wheel Orcadia is a magical first: A science-fiction verse novel written in the Orkney dialect. Push the Boat Out Festival has the absolute pleasure of hosting Harry Josephine Giles’s launch for this unique adventure in poetry a mere day after their book is released. She will be joined by musician Atzi Muramatsu for an electrifying, live-scored performance from the novel.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue

Demonstration Room

Scottish BAME Writer’s Network (SBWN) is an advocacy and professional development group for writers who identify as BAME, mixed-race or POC with a connection to Scotland. In this session curated for Push the Boat Out, the team present an hour of Healing and Recovery through film, poetry and prose from esteemed writers Bee Asha, Bhavika Govil, Nichelle Santagata and Zebib K. Abraham, hosted by SBWN Co-director and award-winning author Dean Atta.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

There are those would argue that Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot were the most influential poets of the last century, revolutionising and freeing up the art of verse for all who came after them. But what about those whose poetry is written primarily to be performed, especially with music?

Event Categories:
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Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:10 pm

Venue

Red Lecture Theatre

To what lengths would you go to achieve fame? A pair of Scottish chancers relocate to the epicentre of the hip hop counter-culture and pass themselves off as a Californian rap group. Their cheeky antics are hilarious yet the film shines a caustic light on the illusory nature of celebrity and the gullibility of the suited execs in the hierarchies of the music industry.

Event Category:

Sat 16 Oct 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

This promises to be a raucous, uplifting headline show featuring force of nature and much-acclaimed performer and poet Salena Godden, Scottish Album Of The Year winner, Nova, plus fellow Scottish rapper emcees Solareye of Stanley Odd and the mighty Empress, whose debut album Love Wins has been winning over all who hear it. Expect upbeat rhythmic excitations, deft flow, sharp social observations and maybe even some dancing.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

Push the Boat Out is proud to present one of the first outings for Gail McConnell’s much anticipated book-length poem, The Sun is Open, following the acclaim of her highly unusual, liminal poems in Fourteen and Fothermather. When Roseanne Watt reads, you can hear a pin drop. Woven through with the language and imagery of Shetland, her poems are a soundscape, her precision is a revelation. Her dual-language debut collection, Moder Dy, was published by Polygon in May 2019.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

We live in times of unprecedented crises, from the pandemic we’ve endured to the ecological devastation around us. What is the point of poetry when the world is collapsing? Can poetry help us to navigate climate doom, and maybe even help us change course?

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet and poetry educator who combines the personal and the political to bring the injustices of contemporary British society into sharp relief. Alycia Pirmohamed’s poetry interweaves history, both individual and collective memory, a powerfully intersectional feminism, and a deep connection to land and the natural world.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Venue

Demonstration Room

This event brings together some of the sizzling talents published by Stewed Rhubarb in recent years. In a quick-fire hour of poetry, you can expect appearances from Colin Bramwell, Ellen Renton, Tracey S. Rosenberg, Bibi June, Henry Bell and Ross McCleary. Together, we will abolish prisons, take our Highland Citizenship tests, and spend every minute of the hour endorsing poetry in its purest Stewed Rhubarb form.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

Push the Boat Out has the honour of celebrating the centenary of the late and great George Mackay Brown. GMB was a giant of Scottish letters yet had a distinctly outsider sensibility. His musicality, his blending of fable and realism, and his placement of Orkney at the centre of his world have made an indelible and lasting impact on writers and artists of many stripes since.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Venue

Histology Lab

Malika’s Poetry Kitchen is a writers’ collective founded in Brixton by Malika Booker and Roger Robinson in 2001. One such impact is in supporting writers to break their own taboos, to challenge themselves much more deeply – be that in the subjects they address, the language they use or the modes of expression they experiment with. Come and have your soul warmed and your boundaries healthily expanded in this unique opportunity.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

Calum Rodger is a poet working in performance, print, and digital media. Armed with a PhD in Scottish literature, he has reimagined 20th century poems as video games, and created crowdsourced poetry for the Edwin Morgan Centenary Program at the Hunterian. Sam Riviere’s poetry is fearless and satirical, and has been described as a kind of ‘anti-poetry’ in its rejection of so many of the conventions and hallows of the contemporary poetry ‘scene’.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

How is poetry used in the service of politics? Contrarily, how does poetry as an art form allow us to challenge orthodoxies, smash patriarchies, upturn conventions of language and gender, and expose racism? Must all writing in this vein be bombastic, or can slow-burning, quiet resistance be just as effective?

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Venue

Demonstration Room

The planet is on fire and in flood, as ever more alarming reports detail the impacts of climate change and species extinction, soil erosion and air pollution. How on earth should we respond to this ever-expanding checklist of loss? In their own inimitable ways, three astonishing poets shape their work as exercises in environmental attention.

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Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Venue

Red Lecture Theatre

We’re told at the start of this movie that most Burmese can write poetry or can recite a poem by heart. Poetry in Burma is an art for the common people. But what if poetry comes into collision with a repressive military regime? Maung Aung Pwint is Burma/Myanmar’s most famous living dissident poet who has been jailed many times by the regime.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue

Anatomy Lecture Theatre
Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH91PL United Kingdom
Phone:
01315601580

Game Six is a work by Tom Sharp and Jim Sutherland about post-truth politics, language, illusion and grace. It follows the forty-one moves made by US chess player Bobby Fischer in game six of the 1972 Reykjavik World Chess Championship against Boris Spassky from the USSR. It appears as a book, a happening in Camden, a website and a showing at Push The Boat Out.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue

Demonstration Room

Tighten your VR goggles, stabilize your dimensional tracker and prepare for a poetic voyage through Virtual and Other Realities. With poetry readings from Stephen Sexton, Rachel Plummer, Elspeth Wilson and Jeda Pearl. Hosted by Russell Jones, deputy and poetry editor of sci-fi magazine, Shoreline of Infinity.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue

Main Hall

Fancy a slot in the next Push the Boat Out? Or maybe you’ve been inspired or disgusted by the festival and have something powerful to say… Round off the end of your festival weekend with a very special Push the Boat Out Open Mic, hosted by our Comms Manager and Poet Laureate from Treaty Six territory in Canada, Julia Sorensen, and the wonderful poet and Open Mic queen Catherine Wilson.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue

Dissection Room
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL United Kingdom
Phone:
0131 560 1580

UK hip hop has traditionally revolved around London, but there has been an undeniable recent boom in hip hop creativity and innovation across all the nations, especially Scotland. Some of the most exciting new projects are coming from women in the genre, who are rarely centred in the hip hop narrative.

Event Category:

Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Push The Boat Out: Edinburgh's International Poetry Festival

Venue

Red Lecture Theatre

A selection of short films inspired by poetry, including: What’s Wrong With Raymond. Ashes To Fire, 50 Ways To Wank, and Image Of Here and Now.

Event Categories:
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Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:15 pm

Venue

Red Lecture Theatre

Jodorowsky’s surreal semi-autobiographical movie is a shape-shifting fantasy, an inventive and often hilarious mystical journey through madness, savage social commentary, as profound as anything the director, now in his 80s, has ever created.

Event Categories:
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Sun 17 Oct 2021 @ 11:00 pm

Venue

Histology Lab

How might we use poems – those we love and those we write – to make charms and amulets to guide and protect us? Join poet Liz Berry to read, write and use craft (of all kinds!) to create your own poetic charms. Writers of all stages are welcome at this playful, nurturing workshop.