dove tales

past events

dia de los muertos

2nd november 2017



Dia De Los Muertos is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico for people to honour the deceased with lively celebrations and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Dia De Los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience.  Families celebrate the lives of their loved ones by taking fruit, nuts, tequila, sugar skulls and garlands of flowers to the graveyard to entice the spirits out. 

Dove Tales in partnership with the Scottish Writers’ Centre, will honour those who have died in war, whether in current conflicts such as the terrible war in the Yemen, or in the historical ones fought by our fathers and grandfathers. 

This event is in support of the To Absent Friends festival, run as part of Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, an initiative to encourage more open and supportive attitudes to death, dying and bereavement. Instead of food and drink, we will be enticing the spirits out with poems, stories, and music.

The event will be hosted by LIZ NIVEN, one of Scotland's most prolific poets in both Scots and English. She has held writing fellowships all over Scotland and collaborated with artists, photographers, sculptors - and even a water diviner. Liz is one of the few poets to be the subject of a television documentary - her residency at Inverness Airport was recorded in Poet on a Plane.

on the night

Huge thanks to Ruby McCann for her warm hospitality and to the Scottish Writers' Centre for hosting us for what turned out to be a powerful and moving event.

El Dia de los Muertos is a way for Mexicans to remember their dead and live with them again for a little while and our readers all did that, talking about people they had lost or about people who had died in war.

Our host, Liz Niven, read poems on topics from Auschwitz to Cambodia, including the first reading of Nourish, her poem for the Scottish Book Trust's new collection.

Sheila Templeton, as always, gave vivid readings about the situation in the Yemen, which is a major campaign for Dove Tales.

A.C.Clarke read poems by peace campaigner, the late Tessa Ransford, and spoke movingly about her own personal favourite, a poem about a cobra in which Ransford acknowledges how dangerous the snake is but says it should not be killed but should be allowed to ripple away into the fields.

'She valued the preciousness of life, which is what Dove Tales is about,' she said.

Iyad Hayatleh read Her Last Laugh, his deeply emotional poem about his late wife, Lamees Tayyem. He too recalled Tessa Ransford, with whom he had collaborated on Rug of a Thousand Colours, a collection of poems about the Five Pillars of Islam.

It was an evening of many tongues, from Iyad's last poem delivered in both English and Arabic to Scots, Gaelic and standard English.

Thank you to all who read so movingly and shared their wonderful poetry with us.

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.
                     Albert Einstein

Black and white images - Ray Evans

Colour, Lesley Traynor.