New poetry anthology celebrates unsung heroes of Edinburgh

A new online anthology of poems celebrating some of Edinburgh's behind-the-scenes heroes has been launched at the City of Edinburgh Council's Writers' Museum.

SGN gas engineer John Carty aka The Wizard of Morrison Street

Spearheaded by Edinburgh Makar Christine De Luca, the Edinburgh Unsung project brings together 26 poems by 23 poets, paying tribute to those whose work largely goes unnoticed but without whom this Festival city would be less safe, less clean, less efficient, less pleasant to study or work in, less vibrant and much less interesting to visit. 

From environmental wardens and school crossing guides to sett-replacers and the people who dust down the books at the National Library of Scotland, the poems shine a spotlight on 23 different services whose work helps keep Edinburgh thriving.

Councillor Norma Austin Hart, Vice Convener of Culture and Sport for the City of Edinburgh Council, formally launched the Edinburgh Unsung anthology at the Writers' Museum on Monday 30 May 2016.

She said: "There are thousands and thousands of people working hard every day to keep our much-loved Capital running smoothly, most of them doing so without very much in the way of public recognition or thanks. This excellent new anthology of poems is intended to do something about that, shining a light on Edinburgh's unsung heroes and immortalising their work. 

"It's an honour to be launching the collection at our Writers' Museum and I'm sure readers from far and wide will discover a new respect and gratitude for everyone the poems celebrate. Huge thanks to Christine De Luca and all her fellow poets for their hard work in bringing Edinburgh Unsung into being."

Christine De Luca, Edinburgh Makar, said: "I’ve very much enjoyed working with some of Edinburgh’s many fine poets and am grateful for their generosity. There’s a long list – Claire Askew, Martin Bates, Kevin Cadwallender, Ken Cockburn, Anne Connelly, Jenni Daiches, Vicki Feaver, Bashabi Fraser, Miriam Gamble, Valerie Gillies, Lesley Glaister, Dorothy Lawrenson, Martin MacIntyre, Ian McDonough, Jane McKie, Richard Medrington, Elspeth Murray, Nancy Somerville, J L Williams, Hamish Whyte and Peter Mackay… the list is still growing!

"As Makar I’m called upon to write occasional poems which celebrate high points for our city or the achievements of its citizens.  It seemed to me that some poems recognising the worth of the everyday, unseen work we tend to take for granted was something I should tackle. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own so it offered an ideal opportunity to engage with other local poets. We have all tackled topics we might not otherwise have written about and for me it has been an eye-opener, a learning experience. And I’ve met some very interesting, skilled, patient and generous people along the way."

Edinburgh Unsung can be accessed online at www.edinburghmakar.org.uk

Image shows: John Carty, SGN gas engineer, aka The Wizard of Morrison Street 

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