ALAN Riach will launch his new poetry collection at the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh, on June 29.

The collection titled The MacDiarmid Memorandum, published by Scotland Street Press, blends biography and history with poetry and prose in a political manifesto that travels across the breadth of Scotland, telling the story of Scottish academic and poet Hugh MacDiarmid.

Riach introduced his book to the world at the University of Western Brittany, France, at the First International Hugh MacDiarmid Conference alongside other panellists and speakers.

The National: Art featured in the bookArt featured in the book (Image: Scottish Poetry Library)

The poems begin with MacDiarmid’s childhood in Langholm and his first attempts to navigate the Scottish landscape.

Riach promises to take the audience on a journey from the Borders to Shetland, from Edinburgh to rural Lanarkshire.

The poems map a nation where nature is inseparable from political history. They explore a peculiarly Scottish kind of consciousness, willing itself to be free yet bowed under the weight of self-suppression.

There is confrontation on various fronts. MacDiarmid experienced trauma, divorce, breakdown, wildness and later, domestic affection. At the same time, Scotland endured two world wars, each triggering a continuing renaissance of Scottish artists and intellectuals, struggling to regenerate international recognition and self- determination.

Alongside Riach’s poems, the book includes reproductions of paintings by the artists Alexander Moffat and Ruth Nicol, focusing on some of the landscapes, friends and associates MacDiarmid knew most closely through his long life, plus a frontispiece portrait by William Johnstone and a song-setting by Ronald Stevenson.

The event is at 6.30pm for 7pm at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh, EH8 8DT