Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay, online, Until 27 August 2020, free entry - Visit now
This online show mixing poetry, music and chat, headed by the Scots Makar Jackie Kay, is running for 16 weeks, keeping us entertained well into August. Produced by National Theatre of Scotland in association with HOME Manchester, Edinburgh International Book Festival and The School of Arts and Media University of Salford, each episode sees Jackie invite along (virtually, of course) another guest “makar”, or maker, to chat about their work and influences, and read from both old and new poems. Spoiler alert: the pandemic and the resulting lockdown feature fairly heavily in the new work being shared probably for the first time.
Episode 12 welcomes youthful trio Raymond Antrobus, Jay Bernard and Ella Duffy (the former English Poet Laureate’s daughter), then episode 13, on 6 August, Peggy Seeger joins Jackie. Guests for 13 and 27 August are yet to be announced, but the penultimate episode, on 20 August, will form part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival programme, all now taking place online. For this edition, poems and chat come courtesy US poet laureate Joy Harjo, the first Native American to hold the position, and promises “a poignant reflection on what it means to be the artistic voice of a nation”.
A wee bit of company from our living rooms to your living rooms… an old-fashioned, rich but heady mix of poetry and music – Jackie Kay
The music element, meanwhile, comes courtesy one of three resident singers – and sometimes the guest poet, as in the case of multi-award-winning Don Paterson in the second week, who came armed with guitar (and pet dog). Katherine Philpott was the second week’s singer; week one kicked off proceedings on 14 May with Peggy Hughes (Programme Director for Writers’ Centre Norwich, and, previously, of Literary Dundee, the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh International Book Festival) asking Jackie questions, and songs from Suzanne Bonnar. Episode three on Thursday 28 May welcomed singer Claire Brown while the “makar” is Gerda Stevenson, award-winning Scottish actress, director and writer, and one of the contributors to Carol Ann Duffy’s WRITE where we are NOW coronavirus project. Episode four is Imtiaz Dharker, episode five Michael Pedersen and Meg Bateman, episode six welcomes Scottish crime fiction writer Val McDermid, and episode seven is the turn of Peter Mackay and Chris McQueer. Episode eight, sees Nadine Aisha Jassat and Hannah Lavery, episode nine is the turn of William Letford and Niall Campbell, episode 10 is Adjoa Andoh (rescheduled from an earlier date) and episode 11, on Thursday 23 July, is Ross Wilson and Colin McGuire. All previous episodes are available to watch again on the Makar To Makar website.
The Scots Makar is the position of national laureate established in 2004 by the Scottish Parliament; the equivalent of the English Poet Laureate, but maybe with fewer sacks of sherry. Jackie Kay was announced as the third holder of the post in 2016, following in the footsteps of Liz Lochhead and Edwin Morgan, to whom she refers often to help contextualise her own position. The idea, says Jackie, is to: “Provide a wee bit of company from our living rooms to your living rooms… an old-fashioned, rich but heady mix of poetry and music.” Makar To Makar livestreams via YouTube every Thursday at 7pm, finishing just before 8pm, with the video kept online for posterity in case you miss it on the actual night.
Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay, online
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