Project information

Poetry and the Year of Natural Scotland - 2013

The Year of Natural Scotland is a chance to celebrate our outstanding natural heritage with a distinctive programme of poetry events, walks with poets in various parts of Scotland, and conversations about their ‘Life in Poetry’ with leading figures who have opened our eyes to the natural world.

January 2013 - December 2013

Charity information

Scottish Poetry Library

Scottish Poetry Library logo
  • Need


    "‘Nothing but heather!’ – How marvellously descriptive! - And incomplete!"

    The Scottish Poetry Library aims to bring people and poems together. The Year of Natural Scotland in 2013 offers an opportunity to reflect on our landscape and environment through a range of events with poetry at their core.

    We want to engage new audiences and deepen appreciation of poets such as Robert Burns, Kathleen Jamie, Norman MacCaig, so that their descriptions and insights will enlarge our understanding.


    The Scottish Poetry Library will invest the energy of our expert and dedicated staff to create a programme of events celebrating the landscapes, seascapes – even the weather! – of Scotland, its animal and plant life, through poetry and with poets.

    We will work with partners such as Scottish Natural Heritage, the Forestry Commission and botanic gardens, so that inspiring locations will feature in our programme, from Arthur’s Seat to Unst, Edzell to Little Sparta.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To programme a season of conversations about ‘My Life in Poetry’.


    » We will invite leading figures who have opened our eyes to the natural world to choose and discuss poems that have been landmarks in their lives.

    Success: 4 partnership events that will delight audiences in locations across Scotland; SPL podcasts featuring interviews with these special guests.

    Aim 2

    To create a range of special events in locations of natural significance


    » To engage poets to lead events in places of natural significance across the country, thereby bringing poetry and audiences together in a unique way.

    Success: 4 events that demonstrate how the natural world inspires poets and audiences alike; SPL podcasts with poets reading and discussing own poems.

    Aim 3

    To programme reading groups with poems reflecting on natural Scotland.


    » We will dedicate 4 reading group sessions to themes inspired by the Year of Natural Scotland, and produce guides for public use.

    Success will be both new and regular audiences enjoying a new programming theme for 2013, and other reading groups using SPL packs.

  • Impact


    The development of new partnerships will enable the SPL to enrich people’s experience of nature and widen access to poetry.

    Seeing the landscape and environment through the lens of poetry will bring people and poems together in refreshing ways, far beyond the confines of the Library’s walls.


    The greatest risk to our project is missing the superb opportunity presented by the Government’s Year of Natural Scotland to extend our reach. We have a strong track record in encouraging audiences, both new and repeat, to participate in a range of events.

    We are confident that our programming for this year, with adequate financial support, strategic focus and expert planning, will be successful in attracting audiences across Scotland, engaging excellent poets and new partners.


    The Scottish Poetry Library has a lively social media presence: website, blog, Facebook, Twitter (heading for 10,000 followers), and a podcast stream.

    We will utilise all of these to report back to and engage donors, as well as our twice-yearly broadsheet, the Poetry Reader.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £8,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £2,000 My Life In Poetry A programme of 4 events across the year.
      £4,000 Places of Natural Significance Poets commissioned to respond to places of natural significance and lead an event
      £1,000 Reading Groups To programme 4 special reading groups with discussion lead by a poet
      £1,000 SPL Marketing Extra marketing to promote Year of Natural Scotland to new audiences

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Big Give Pledge Phase £2,000 Conditional
    Challenge Phase £4,000 Conditional
    Matched Giving Pot £2,000 Conditional
  • Background


    The Scottish Poetry Library is based off the Canongate, towards the foot of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

    Our library is ideally situated for both local and visiting borrowers, audiences and poets to take part in our activities.

    As the Year of Natural Scotland takes inspiration from landscapes across the country, we will take our programme out and about in Scotland.

    Our website and podcasts will broadcast many of our activities beyond Scotland, for all to enjoy.


    Our special programming for the Year of Natural Scotland in 2013 will benefit our partners such as Scottish Natural Heritage, RBGE and the Forestry Commission by adding a new, poetic dimension to their activities.

    It will engage our loyal audience, and appeal to our 2,000 borrowers and over 500 Friends.

    This project will invite new audiences to explore poetry alongside the natural world, helping the Scottish Poetry Library achieve its mission: to bring people and poems together.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Scottish Poetry Library is a unique national resource and advocate for the art of poetry, and Scottish poetry in particular. We are passionately committed to bringing the pleasures and benefits of poetry to as wide an audience as possible. Physically and virtually, the Scottish Poetry Library’s doors are open. There’s poetry here for everyone, and we can help you find the poem you’ll want to keep. A visitor said: ‘A lovely island of light and truth! Thank you for tending to its trees!’

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Robyn Marsack - Director

    As Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, Robyn will oversee the SPL’s strategy and programming for the Year of Natural Scotland.

    Jennifer Williams - Programming Manager

    As Programme Manager, Jennifer will work with her colleagues to produce an enticing programme for the Year of Natural Scotland.




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Landscape is my religion

Norman MacCaig