A new voice in poetry and performance has been named as BBC Scotland’s first ever Poet in Residence.
Rachel McCrum was chosen from more than 70 applicants and will be introduced as BBC Scotland’s Poet in Residence to its Radio Scotland audience on National Poetry Day, Thursday 8 October.
Throughout the three-month residency, which is collaboration between BBC Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library, her aim will be to bring poetry to audiences across the country.
Her main platform will be on Radio Scotland’s arts and culture programme The Janice Forsyth Show, but she will also be contributing to other BBC Scotland programming and will work with BBC Scotland’s The L.A.B. to deliver poetry workshops to primary and secondary schools.
Janice Forsyth says: “We had an astonishing level of interest in this opportunity, with more than 70 applicants for the residency. Rachel is an exciting, emerging voice in poetry and has been steadily building her career as a poet in Scotland and abroad. Last year she went to South Africa as part of the Commonwealth Poets United Project and has been a Poet in Residence in as wide ranging places as the Harvard Centre for Hellenic Studies, Nafplion, in Greece and Dunbar, Scotland.
“Rachel’s brief for the residency is to explore communities across Scotland – from football fans, migrants and refugees to urban and rural groups – and to reflect on current and topical issues. I believe that Rachel will also bring a great deal of freshness and creativity to the role, revealing poetry as a truly exciting art form.”
Born in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, she graduated from Oxford University and has lived in New Zealand and Manchester, before moving to Edinburgh five years ago.
Rachel says: “I love language and I’m really excited to be taking this passion to another level and to be sharing it with people across the country. Scotland has a great oral tradition of story-telling and I think poetry provides a way for people – and by that I mean all sorts of people – to reflect their own experiences in their own communities in our modern world.”
Robyn Marsack, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, says: ”The Scottish Poetry Library is delighted that BBC Scotland is recognising the lively and thought-provoking contribution poetry makes to the cultural life of Scotland by appointing a poet in residence. Rachel McCrum is a generous poetry presenter as well as a distinctive lyrical voice in her own right, and I am sure that she will make poems and friends for poetry wherever she goes in the next three months.”