Magazine article World Literature Today

Word Power Books: Edinburgh

Magazine article World Literature Today

Word Power Books: Edinburgh

Article excerpt

Word Power Books, Edinburgh, is a secret engine room for Scottish literature. I suggest this because Word Power is not generally acknowledged by the "cultural management industry" or included at all in the special cultural supplements of the mainstream press.

Well placed close to the university in Edinburgh, the bookshop tends to be "discovered" by individuals rather than recommended regularly by teaching staff. For some, their discovery may come too late to benefit their studies, but that will always be part of the nature of serendipity.

Word Power is a center of energy because it is human and not bureaucratic; it is not dependent on outside sources for its funding, policies, aims, and activities. The contained space it occupies on West Nicholson Street compacts this energy so that it is all the more effective. It could be seen as "autopoetic" in that it is self-generating, self-developing, and self-supporting.

Word Power is important for Scottish literature because it is unreservedly national and international in its stock, which is carefully chosen, again because of limited space. Word Power's staffunderstands that literature must be of its time, in terms of involvement in social and political struggles, as well as beyond time in terms of its art and skill. Literature must be experimental and traditional, controversial and philosophical, tragic and comic, female and male, new and old, academic and general.

The first readings by Scottish pamphlet poets were held at Word Power. …

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