Will poetry eyer pay'.’ Krix‘tina Woolnough scans the proxpectx‘ tor hudding and extahltx‘hed hardx in Scotland looking to excape from the garret ghetto.

l’oetry. like the humhlc paper—clip. hax many uxcx. Read alottd it can droyy n otit hot'ex. l’orcd oy er :ti hed it can xaye on xcdatiy ex. .'\nd ttoyy and then it earnx xomconc a teyy hoh.

llut notyy ithxtanelmg the ‘hig occaxioir yct'xe ol the l’oct laureate. poetry ix practical \ alttex are generally oycrlooked. In the popular imagination poetry ix cllctmnatc. ethereal. and ahotit ax much to do yy ith cycryday lilc ax humx on xeatx in (‘oyen' ( iaiden. ol \y hich more

So tliciex little point in poetx hanging tip then couplctx and xtriking lor more pay tor arty pay at all ). hcttci yyorkmg conditionx or a tan deal liom pttl‘lixltct‘x lt yyould hay e tltc xamc cl tect ax chanting lxicat‘x ‘( )dc to .»\tttumn‘ doyy ii an empty mine—xhalt.

l)(‘L‘l\t1lCC\[‘L'elk‘kl [olte llte conxcicncc ol the nation lor lrcc. l’or moxt it ix a \ ocation. a Something l hat l lax lo lie Done. l'icyy make a lty trig at the ty pcyyrttcr. lxolatcd xuccexxcx at c iitixreprexentatiy e laxt yeai \ot‘itiati \lae( allg‘S (iii/ha 1th Porn/y took tip rcxidence iii the hcxtxcllci' lixt atid yyon ltim L l .‘l lll ;t\ SettlllSlt littttlx til the \eai'. .\ot much rcyyard lot torty ycarx' xyyeat. .-\nd l)ouglax l)tmn picked up US.“ lll litt' lttx c‘ttlleelttttt /'./t'L’/t'\ yy hich xincc it xcooped the \‘y'hithread l’t'l/e lldx\ttltlttVef'llHlllll coptex. lt made him xccurc enough to xettlc hix ratex hill and houglit him time to concentrate on a noy cl.

Such modcxt xucccxx xtoriex are rare. \loxt modern poetx xuhxixt on the dole or hy taking another ioh. l-‘or the latter the .\luxe ix a nocturnal animal. Some yyottld not hay c it any other way loraxonc eminent poet pttt it. ‘l loyy do yoa \y rite poetry eight haurx a day , liy c dayx a neck ."

So poetx hcci unc rcy ieyycrx.

\y riteix~in~rexidcncex. dixhyy axhcrx. caharct arttxtx. l’i//a l lttt \yatiiexxcx. lattteatcx to mtitintameermg e\[‘etlllltttt\. ttoyelixtx. teacherx. .'\ny thing to keep the \yclt trom the door. In a xuty ey lor the Scottixh l’oetry l ihrary conducted iii NSF

xi utte :31 I pct tplc ‘rcgixtercd'

5lltel.i.xt‘) Illanuary

thcmxcly ex ax poetx ll\ ing iii Scotland. l'hix conlirmx yy hat many hay c long xuxpcctcd: there are more poetx than there are people prepared to htiy poetry. ln another xurycy. tnadc hy the Poetry liorary lorthe (‘ultural Sectoi‘ol the l‘eotiotttie (‘ommixxit‘in in Bruxxelx ( the lil:(‘). l? poetx otit ot “T replied to a tiucxttonnairc. ( )l thexe ahotit hall had other iohx. the text yycre either in receipt ol a retirement pcnxion or xupplcmcntary henclit. or yyerc on the dole. .\lmoxt hall regarded thcmxely ex ax ‘yy ritcix' and "(VI ol thcxc pttt pactry hclorc other kindx ol \y riting ax a priority tn their oyy n mindx. lt hax ney cr hcen eaxy to e\l\l ax a poet. lit the paxt priy ate patronage yy ax the key to xtiry iy al. 'l'odayixpatronagecomex courtexy ol the xtate \ ia the .-\rtx ( ‘ouncil. l ’nlikcotherartx. in particular. the pcrlorming artx. literature hax little toollcryyould—hecommercial xponxorx. l'hc indigent yy ritcr ix largely at the mercy ol yyhat memhei‘x ol the yariot;x xuh-ctunmittccx ol the Scottixh .v\rtx ('otmcil‘xl itcraturc ( ‘ommittec lltttthtil lttxttt‘ltet’yyitf‘k ('ommttteex heing committecx there ix a tendency to hack the tried and texted rather than rixk puhlic money on the tmlamiliar.

llut only xtccaxionally doex the S;\( i take llak: moxt \yt'itcrx are \ttllxlletl ll tlttex .t gin ttl lttl‘ ill tllllletlll ctrcumxtancex. l)expite the tmlikclihood ot poetry t‘ecciy‘mg linancial help lrom priy ate xourccx it gctx only a morxel ol the .r\rtx (‘ouncil'x cake. In the linanctal year NSF So the S;\( “x total httdget yyax L l 3. HWJFS. lrotn yy hich literature itx it \\ little receiycd Lul‘1h.t\<t\ \llhle. m contt'axt, got a piece yy ith chcrricx

2.5. l-l4.‘l".‘~. [y en the S.-\( "x parent organixation in the .-\rtx ( ~otmcil ol (ill acccptx that poetry ix a xpceial caxc and h;;x xaid m itxcontroyerx:al report Hie ( i/ory m 1/2" ( rim/cit that ‘thc nnpactot . . . xuhxidy lor lllc'l'ttlllleIII/It'l’lllti'fl[HIV/2W ix marginal~

()t the near hall a tnillion \\ hich gocx to literature hoyy much xecx itx

way to poetry and poetx‘.’ lt i.x a .x'uhiect on which \Valter('airnx. the S,»\("_x literature Director. ix coy; He told The lain that the S.-\(‘doex not dixtinguixh hctyy'cen kindx ot' yyriting yyhen giy'ing hurxariex. ayyardx and ti'aycl grantx. 'l'hc maiority ol‘yyriterx who are giycn ayyardx lor the yy riter-in—xchooh xchemcx are poetx. .xintply hecauxc poetry readingx and dixcuxxionx are caxicr to ‘accommodatc'. than proxc. .>\pplicant.x lor hurxaricx do not nccexxarily' apply pttrely ax poetx or proxe yy'riterx and a proportion ol' the grantx to puhlixherx are uxcd to ptthlixli poetry hookx.

.»\ccording to itx Annual Report the S.>\(' laxt year gaye hurxariex to 14 \y'riterx. only a hantilul ot‘ yyhom are rccognixahlc ax poetx. ()l the lll "l'ray'el and Rexcarch’ grantx it dixpenxcd. none went to poetx thottgh ol the 9 ‘Writing l‘ielloyy xhipx‘ it ayyardcd. the maiority yycnt to ptteIS.

But poetx like other .trtixtx muxt htiild up a portlolio and it ix throttgh puhlication that moxt are likely to lind lay‘otti' yy ith artx council committeex. l’uhlixhcrx in Scotland are reluctant to ptthlixh poetry l'or. ax l’am Smith ol' l’oly gon l litiinhurgh l'niy erxity Studcntx l’uhlication Board ) acknoyy'lcdgex. ‘l’oetry' l’ormx a y cry xmall percentage ol the hook market and ix y'ery rixky to puhlixh.‘ l’oly gon are general puhlixherx yyho. hecauxe ol their unique xtatux. do not operate ttnder the xame commercial conxtramtx axmany other memhcrxol'the xiyty-xtrong Scottixh l’uhlixherx .'\xxoeiatioit. ’l'hey uxually manage to xncak a xliiii yolumc or two ol y'erxe on to their lixt each year. l.axt year they puhlixhcd tyyo hookx hy' l.i/ l.ochhead yyho. xayx Patti Smith. doex yy‘ell. ‘partly hecauxe .xhc ix L: populixt poet. a perl’ormer ax much ax a poet. and partly heeattxe xhc yyorkx hard at promoting heryyork'. giy'ing at leaxt

(ill readingx a year.‘ 'l'hcir opening oller thix y car ix Shoo/mid. a collection ol Shetlandic y crxe hy Rohcrt .‘\lan .lamiexon yyhich ix not expected it) xell like hotcakex.

ll hexc hookx .tll reeeiy ed ptthlication grantx lrom the S.-\(‘. money yy hich gocx to axxuage the puhlixhcrx production coxtx. and not It) the pttel. 'l'lte S:\( helicy ex that :1 healthy puhlixhing induxtry lx neccxxary to loxtcr a thriy'mg literary community. l’tthlixhing certainly hax looked tip in recent yearx htit there are lcai‘x that the need 1U he commercial yyill outyycigh puhlixhcrx‘ commitment to literature. ( )l the Vl l‘tlUlNS gly'ett production grantx laxt year only ll \Vet‘e pttelt‘y l‘()t)l\\ and [no til IlteSe yycre anthologiex and another Burnx‘ .St’h't‘lt't/Pile/21y.llleSettlllxlll’ttelt‘y lihrary hax idcntil’ied 35 puhlixhcrx ol poetry in Scotland httt leyy ol thexc are lull—time and moxt puhlixh intermittently on a thrcadharc xhocxtring. l’or the more xuccexxlul Scottixh poct. puhlication hy a l.ondon puhlixhcr ix xtill preterrcd. Ron Butlin. yyith l'our collectionx to hix name. admitx that the hook might not he giy eti the priority and care lrom a l.ondon hotixe that it yyould hy a Scottixh puhlixher httt it yy ill he

t‘eyieyyed where it mattcrx. in the prextigioux iournalx and hcayyyy'eight paperx. ‘You might not xcll any more copicx at the end ol‘the day". he .xayx. ‘hut at leaxt the hook yyon‘t go unnoticed.‘

So doyy n the high road leading xouth hayc gone .xuch luminariex' ax lain(”richton Smith.(ieorge \ltickay' Broyyn. Norman Macbaig. the recently deccaxed \V. S. (iraham. 'l'om l.conard. l)ougla.x Dunn and many othcrx. 'l‘exxa Ranxlord. Directorolthe Scottixh l’oetry lihrary'. regrctx thix. ‘lt i.x' a great pity there are no prcxtigioux poetx heing puhlixhed in Scotland. A maiorScottixhpoetry puhlixhcr \yould encourage people to huy‘ poetry . ax they yyould huy it hecauxe ol the puhlixhet'x reputation. l'ntil thcrc ix xuch a puhlixhcr. I can xee little luturc lor Scottixh poetry .‘

\lx Ranxlord heliey ex that it ix the duty ol yyell—knoyy ti poetx to cxtahlixh ‘a route" tor neyy Scottixh poetx.

'l 'nl'ortunatcly. indiy idual poetx pttt their ttyy It earccrx ltelttt'e llte gtttttl ttl Scottixh poetry ax a yy hole naturally enough. lt‘x a yiciouxcirclc. \thn Scottixh poetx puhlixh in lingland. popular intcrcxt tcndx to xuhxidc in Scotland.‘ ( )l the current xtate ol ltoetric al'l'airx. xhc ohxet yed; ‘.-\ male chatiyinixticand indiyidualixtic attitttdc haxhithertodominated Scottixh poetry . ( 'ompctitiy cnxx ltetyyecit poetx hax alxo heett an unfortunate leaturc. lint l think yyomcn'x groupx are changing that.‘ l'hc Sl’l. ix puxhing lor change. ltx raixon detre ix to take poetry to the people hccauxe it'x an are that hookxhopx and lihrariex xtock otin thoxc poetx yy hoxc puhlixherx hay c cll'icient channelon dixtrihution. Sittall prcxxex are. xay x a chagrmcd l-‘dinhurgh hookxcllcr. 'unrcliahlc. more tt'otthle than they ‘rc north and here today and gone tomorroyy .' .‘yloxt higger hookxhopx do hay e a lcyy xltel\e\ Lleyttletl ltl pttelt'y lttll outyyith the lamiliar imprintxo l'ittl‘et‘. ( )ylord and l’cnguin and a leyy othcrx the xpacc ix giy en met to 'x;tle" anthologicx .ttid .\lc( ionagall‘x

thtg'g‘el'el. 'lihere .tf'e tttt xpccialixt poetry hookxhopx iii Scotland and ax lcxxa Ranxlord pointx otit it ix ittxt not poxxihlc to ‘hump into‘ pcctry. though there yy ill he a hctter chance once the Poetry l.ihrary",x hux ix on the road.

SH \\ het'e tlitex «tile g‘H ltt experience the xhock ol the neyy fl’ Small maga/incx arc the traditional xotu'ce l’plicmeral.c\perimental. clitiuixh. amatcurixh and ax cluxiy e ax llte itxt‘t‘ey they are xltll llte lttxl [Mill Hl call lttl‘ the ettiezgcnt poet. l here are ahout lourteen iii Scotland httt that may yy ell hay e changed xmce thix xcntence yyax yyiitten. l’uhlic lll‘l';tlle\ttt.glll ontock a croxx—xection xince the .S.\( ttllel‘\ UP It) xl\ trcc \lll‘m‘l’lltllttl‘S lU llioxe ll xuhxidixex. .-\nd it you like yy hat‘xott oller xtihxcrihc. lor ll you don't you might not xee itx like again. \\ hich hririgx ux hack to llltth‘ yyell—heclcd derricrex at ( "oyent ( iardcn. \\ ith literary maga/incx xclling ax teyy ax thllcopicx pct txxuc there are rumourx that the S.\( rmght yyithdrayy xupport lrota a couple Yet the :\( ‘( ill hax happily underyy ritten