Poetry at the Lighthouse: Magi Gibson Launch

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We are thrilled to kick off Poetry at the Lighthouse with the wonderful Magi Gibson.

Magi joins us to celebrate the publication of her new collection Washing Hugh MacDiarmid’s Socks, in which she explores what it is to be a fully engaged human in today’s confusing world. These poems are insightful, joyful, witty, tender and yes, at times, rude. Two women in a punch-up in Glasgow’s West End. A man stepping off a tenement roof on a snowy morning. An angry neighbour. A letter of solidarity to Sappho. Not to mention those dirty socks. Or that poem with the intriguing title, ‘V****A’.

Hayd Murphy in the National:
It catches all the qualities of Gibson’s best writing. Metaphorically juxtaposing the skeletons in her cupboard with the ghosts in her attic Gibson is a joy to read. I still remember the pleasure of meeting a new and invigorating voice when reviewing Wild Women of a Certain Age (Chapman 2000). Syncopated, as oppose to synthetic, Scots gives new life to poems with familiar feminist polemic. It gives power to moments, far from tranquillity, recalled in poems about her father who “taught me how to scan the ridge,/ to spot the dips along the horizontal line, the sags/ that indicate the presence of a broken beam”. Of course there is artistic autonomy between the politics and the poetry: “Survival kicks in. Ye tak big gulps/o thur language an thur wyes”. Poetry wins. The politics survive to be addressed; “Och, Scotland, ma wee cloven country,/sic a Jekyll n Hyde o a nation.””

Magi was the first Makar of the City of Stirling in 500 years, a recipient of numerous Scottish arts awards and fellowships and Reader in Residence with Glasgow Women’s Library from 2012 – 2015, where she ran many creative writing workshops and hosted poets from India, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Jamaica and Palestine. She is a patron of the Federation of Writers Scotland. Her first play, Our Boys, received a Tom McGrath Award in 2016.

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