The Edinburgh-based collective, Neu! Reekie! have reached the mature age of ten, and to celebrate they have published a wonderful collection of poems and plays (combined with a download code for music). This collection encapsulates how broadly they span, as this feels like a book of global significance, and not just including poets from simply Scotland’s capital.
Neu! Reekie! started off as the boundary-pushing, quirky and astute duo, Kevin Williamson and Michael Pedersen, but have expanded over the years to include Dave Miller and Kat Gollock, and it often feels like many others, as several get warmed into the tribe. A collection they were hoping to release earlier in 2020, #UntitledThree gives an array of voices, cementing the fact that this tribe cast their watchful eyes out beyond the borders of Scotland, the UK even, as we get a diverse range of works.
A follow up to the immensely popular #UntitledOne and #UntitledTwo. This year’s anthology gives us more of the promising and established names in British poetry who have all shared the Neu! Reekie! bill. Bill Drummond, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Jackie Kay, Jen Hadfield, Dean Atta and Daljit Nagra are some of the names you might find in this extensive collection.
Many of the works are new, many are favourites read at the events; the subject and content is wide-ranging from Sarah Stewart’s depiction on criminalisation of period-poverty to Leyla Josephine’s favourite things with Victoria McNulty’s snapshot of East Glasgow in the 90s thrown in for good measure. Sabrina Mahfouz’s short play This Is How It Was notably throws in dire statistics on the female prison population in the form of a quiz, whilst Russell Jones reminds us of TV sitcom Only Fools and Horses with references and language to sail us straight back to those moments watching the Trotters with the family.
It’s a braw thing, this collection, which will take more than an evening’s reading, and I recommend and dipping system for those poems that befit the mood. For as I said they are wide-ranging but the thread that holds it all is certainly the talent that they have their keen eyes upon when it comes to poetry, and not just broadly in Scotland.
#UntitledThree is available now, published by Polygon