On Friday, 3 February 2012, a new exhibition was launched at the Main Library. This exhibition, entitled “Creative Capture: Six St Andrews Poets,” will become a permanent feature of the library at the end of March.
In November 2011, the photographer Norman McBeath photographed six leading contemporary poets, all of whom are or have been teachers of Creative Writing in the University’s School of English. These photographs were taken in the University’s King James Library, which was built as part of the foundation of the Common Library starting in 1612. The six are: John Burnside, Robert Crawford, Don Paterson, Jacob Polley (all of whom currently teach on the Creative Writing Programme), Kathleen Jamie (now at the University of Stirling) and Douglas Dunn (now retired). Each poet has provided some lines of verse in their own hand, and the resulting poems and portraits will be on permanent display in the University’s recently renovated Main Library(on the North East wall of Level 2).
“There are many points of connection between poets and libraries, aside from the fact of volumes of poetry on library shelves,” says University Librarian John MacColl. “Some of the world’s greatest poets were also librarians – writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and Philip Larkin … Libraries, I feel, share with poems and poem collections the quality of being kaleidoscopic. Poets gather images and ideas from all corners of the universe, and one reason why libraries have such strong symbolic power is because they do the same. A walk along the shelves of a library, or between floors, yields works that traverse the universe of facts and ideas – all in surprising and inspiring proximity. So it seems to me very appropriate that the University Library should be celebrating the work of its poets with this ‘Creative Capture’ exhibition, and the unveiling of our new ‘Poets’ Wall’.”The exhibition will be on short loan to the StAnza Poetry Festival, which will put it on display from 15-17 March 2012 at the St Andrews Public Library Meeting Room, Church Square. Afterwards, the exhibition will return for permanent installation in the Main Library.