Poetry and Hope for MND

Find out what’s been going in our groups as one of our regular participants shares news about an exciting project they’ve recently been involved in.


Poetry and Hope for MND

Kate Durie is a long-term member of Open Book shared reading groups, and this project – Poetry and Hope for MND – was run by the Euan MacDonald Centre, who do vital research into motor neuron disease at the University of Edinburgh.


As soon as I heard about the project from the Euan MacDonald Centre, I knew I wanted to be part of it. There had been an idea incubating at the back of my mind for some time, but it seemed like too much effort to bring it to life. Having an objective made all the difference. I was intrigued by what they would do with it; I prefer poetry on the page or spoken and so I was unsure about music.


Nevertheless, having young composers write something especially seemed like a bonus. Linking all of this to scientific research and putting together a video to be launched in the festival in the hope of raising awareness of MND gave us all an aim.


My job was just to write, accompanied by the writer in residence. I was so keen I had a first draft almost immediately and then she and I settled into the serious business of editing it. Thereafter I was offered the choice of 4 pieces of music by the harpist to accompany it. Then it was all out of my hands.


I have been a happy participant in Open Book groups for some years, first in the lively group at the National Library of Scotland and latterly in the small but perfectly formed group in Morningside that met in the Open Door community cafe. Thanks to our leaders, Norma and Mairi, we have continued to meet by Zoom through the pandemic. I value the range of writings we discuss and the stimulating blend of stories and poetry.


You can watch a recording of the event, including an interview with Kate and a wonderful performance of her poetry here: http://www.euanmacdonaldcentre.org/about/news/poetry-and-hope-for-mnd