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Poems on Pillows

06/01/2007

Just before Christmas, the Scottish Poetry Library asked whether I’d be willing to take on a commission for a new three-star metro hotel in Edinburgh, Ten Hill Place. The library and the hotel have put together a project to produce poetry postcards that will be left on the pillows at Ten Hill Place when guests arrive. There will be eight in total, I think, and the commission is not only to write one but to take part in a renga on 25 January at the hotel with two other poets who’ll be writing pillow postcard poems–Elspeth Murray and Richard Medrington–and, as renga master, erstwhile Shore Poet Ken Cockburn.

This morning, Richard, Elspeth and I met our contact at the hotel, Adrian Hanger, for a look round the establishment and a chat about the project. Ten Hill Place consists of a swish new building and part of a Georgian terrace. Most of the accommodation is in the Georgian section, but the interior design of the hotel is wholly and beautifully contemporary. It’s owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, but guests need no connection with the college or surgery.

The commission and the renga are new departures for me, although I’ve written poems specifically for certain occasions before. I’m looking forward to the work. I know Richard, Elspeth and Ken reasonably well; we’re quite different writers in several ways, but that should make the renga more interesting.

Oh, and the poem has to be written by 19 January!

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