Fruitmarket Festival Friday – Six Poets: #6: Andrew Philip


credit: Anneleen Lindsay (

#6: Andrew Philip
Fruitmarket Gallery, Friday 15 August 2014, 8 pm.

Every year I look forward to returning to Edinburgh at Festival time – because I’m half-Scottish and studied at Edinburgh University, because I love the Book Festival and other festivities there, and because it’s one of the truly splendid cities of the world.

And for the last few years the Fruitmarket Gallery has given added reason for delight, providing the setting for a fine evening of poetry, whatever the festival weather. Hosted by the Fruitmarket’s inimitable Iain Morrison and local host poets Andrew Philip and Rob Mackenzie, the night alone’s been worth the trip north.

I’m very happy this year to be joining Andy and Rob again, along with Simon Barraclough, Chrissy Williams and AB Jackson, and to be hosting here, virtually, a small introduction to their brilliant work.


Here's our second Edinburgh host, Andrew Philip, to round things off.

Andrew Philip was born in Aberdeen, and grew up in a former mining village near Falkirk. He studied Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. He published two poetry pamphlets with HappenStance Press - Tonguefire (2005) and Andrew Philip: A Sampler (2008). His first full collection, The Ambulance Box, was published by Salt in 2009; it was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry and the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust First Book Award in 2010. The North End of the Possible was published in 2012 by Salt Publishing. He lives in Linlithgow.


A Child’s Garden of Physics (1)

Trauchled by the paraphernalia

of a life spent tinkering
— the long stands, the mundae hammers — 
MacAdam settles

to cobbling light apart
into constituent darknesses: 
pit mirk, pick mirk, part mirk, heart mirk.
Even so, there’s hardly

enough mirk in this world
to account for the breadth of black
he thinks must lie

at the core of everything.

And here it is, nestling
in the pleasant land of Counterfact,
spreading as the sun droops:
the fundamental particle of night.

It shades in/out of being
the way MacAdam does when not
observing himself at a distance,
his anchor ego flowing

through various queerlike states
akin to the nocton’s flavours: 
still, thrang, change, dread,
silent and sudden. The quirks

the hour has flung at him
gather in the corner of his shed.
Now, armed with the tools

to measure the mirk aright,

he can take to the streets
to ascertain precisely what
the afterlight is made of — this
could be his service to us all.

See Andrew’s website here.
Follow Andrew Philip on Twitter: @ambulancebox

More details on the event here.