p02qy22zGiven the hostility in some nationalist quarters in Scotland to the BBC and its coverage of the recent independence referendum, it may be a surprising time to see this, but BBC Scotland is inviting applications for “the post of BBC Scotland’s inaugural Poet in Residence: a unique opportunity for an early career poet, based in Scotland, to undertake a three month residency at BBC Scotland, working with BBC teams to bring poetry to audiences across Scotland.” Launched “in collaboration with the Scottish Poetry Library,” the opportunity is open for submissions until June 12th, with the actual residency to “begin in October 2015, to coincide with National Poetry Day 2015,” and run until the end of 2015.

BBC Scotland explains the rationale for seeking a fresh voice for the position. ” In seeking an ‘early career poet’, we are looking for someone of any age who demonstrates significant potential, evidence of professional achievement, a rigorous approach to creating artistic work as well as a strong commitment to the art and a readiness to develop their practice.” As the Scottish Poetry Library notes, “The search for the BBC Radio Scotland’s inaugural poet-in-residence was launched today [March 11th] on The Janice Forsyth Show. The National Poet of Scotland Liz Lochhead joined Janice Forsyth to talk about poetry and her role as one of the judges who will decide who takes up the post. You can listen to the interview here. Janice Forsyth says ‘This is an amazing opportunity for a poet to spend time in BBC Scotland, witness the production experience first-hand, and be inspired to create bold and innovative material for our audiences across Scotland.’”

With the issue of Scottish independence definitely still live in the UK, and with the historic role of Scotland’s poets in the independence movement, this could be an unusually high-profile position at this juncture. Will the new poet rekindle Scottish enthusiasm for the BBC and UK institutions in general? Will the occupant use the platform to take a public stance on cultural autonomy and even independence? Wait and see …


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