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Mark Ogle Memorial Poem

22/02/2008

Besides the usual fine fare at Shore Poets this Sunday, with Jacob Polley, Diana Hendry and Debbie Cannon, there’ll be something extra special: acclaimed Gaelic poet and novelist Angus Peter Campbell will launch the Mark Ogle Memorial Poem.

Angus Peter will read Mark Ogle’s poem “English Rain” and “Our Rain”, the poem he has written as a response.

Mark Ogle (1948–1999) was one of the earliest members of Shore Poets and one of the first to read at the group’s original venue, the Shore Gallery in Leith. A poet of great depth and sensitivity, his reading so impressed the founders that they invited him to become the third Shore Poet.

Always closely involved in the running of the group, Mark played a considerable part in organising the appearances of Norman MacCaig and Edwin Morgan at the 369 Gallery. Mark continued this level of involvement even once the group had been expanded and gave many memorable readings at all Shore Poets venues.

It was with particular sadness that group members heard of his final illness and subsequent death, at the early age of 50, in February 1999. A Memory of Fields—a selection of his poems edited by Brian Johnstone and Hugh Dailly of Shore Poets, in consultation with Mark’s wife Deborah Nelken, with an introduction by Stewart Conn—was published by Akros in 2000.

In 2007, Mark’s family and Shore Poets decided to commission a poem annually as a memorial to him. The commission is offered to the poet among the previous year’s Shore Poets readers whom we feel is most in tune with Mark’s sensibilities.

The poet is asked to respond to a poem of Mark’s, chosen by his family, and receives a fee of £500, plus a year’s possession of the Mark Ogle Memorial Poem trophy. The fee and trophy are presented and the poems read at the Shore Poets event in February, the month in which Mark died.

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