Poetry is blossoming in Edinburgh


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The Independent Culture

One year ago this month, Edinburgh's literary history welcomed the first chapter of a mysterious new instalment. A small sculpture featuring a tree carved delicately from the pages of a book was left by an anonymous visitor to the Scottish Poetry Library, alongside a bowl of printed words that combined to form the poem A Trace of Wings by the late Scots Makar (national poet) Edwin Morgan.

During the rest of 2011, nine more book sculptures would be deposited around the city in locations like the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the Edinburgh Book Festival, referencing the work of Scots authors like Ian Rankin and James Hogg.

Although the sculptor remains unidentified (she's female, says Rankin, who has met her), the sculptures themselves have earned a growing, almost mythical, following in the city. Some remain on display where they were found. The Scottish Poetry Library's pair will be exhibited at Scotland's International Poetry Festival, Stanza, in St Andrews this month.

"The idea that we should share them outside Edinburgh is a powerful one," says Robyn Marsack, director of the Scottish Poetry Library. "The creator has said they're designed to celebrate books, libraries and creativity, which are not exclusive to Edinburgh... their workmanship and beauty is breathtaking when seen in person."

'By Leaves We Live', Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Fife (01334 475000) 14 to 18 March (www.stanzapoetry.org; www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk)