ONE of Scotland’s most acclaimed performance poets is presenting a Fringe show calling for “solidarity, empathy and love” at a time of division.

Jenny Lindsay’s This Script is the Edinburgh-based poet’s response to current conflicts within feminism and the anger she felt in the wake of #MeToo.

The show is part of a project which also includes a new poetry collection and a triptych of film poems.

Tackling hot-button issues such as sex and gender, pornography, childlessness and the experiences of women under capitalism, Lindsay’s new poems are witty, defiant and often challenging.

The “poetic memoir” is intended to inspire a culture of openness and discussion.

A poem titled The Imagined We is key to the project, she explains.

In the film version, Lindsay visits a Leith newsagent in her jammies to find “misogyny mud-pie and mint” bubblebath.

Back at her flat, she tells pianist Jo Shaw of cabaret band A New International how “we must love the pain of this at all costs”.

The film poem’s impressive soundtrack was written by A New International leader Biff Smith, whom Lindsay describes as “a bit of a genius”.

Smith’s joyful music and the women’s playful performances are at odds with the poem’s origins in the aftermath of #MeToo and the murder of freelance journalist Kim Wall in 2017.

Other factors inspired the poem, she says, such as her personal health and the expectations on women performers and artists.

“Salman Rushdie had said that he didn’t think there should be separate categories for women at literary awards as he felt it ghettoised women,” Lindsay says.

“At the same time there was a lot of discussion about how poets shouldn’t write from personal experience as it might bring people down.

“I was also frustrated with what #MeToo and spoken word in general often demands from women, where you’re judged on your trauma, not your craft, your ideas.”

This Script ended a period of writer’s block for Lindsay, who says the poems were a way to channel emotions stirred up by #MeToo.

“A week after #MeToo hit, I realised I was going to have to do something otherwise I would explode with anger,” Lindsay says.

“I knew I had to use spoken word to talk about various things I’d been speaking about in pubs, with women online who were all saying: ‘Oh my God. What the hell is happening to the world?’”

“I thought: ‘I am a performance poet. I need to be brave. I need to talk about this publicly. I need to talk about what’s happening to women generally and I need to also talk about my personal story. #MeToo was a good springboard for all that.”

OF the three film poems, one doesn’t feature in the live show.

Filmed at a (staged) children’s birthday party at a friend’s house, An Invite To Your Baby Shower Or Your Child’s Birthday Party sensitively and humorously explores parenthood and childlessness – issues we often shy away from discussing.

The film poem for This Script is dynamic, colourful, provocative – as are Lindsay’s words.

Set to a hip hop soundtrack by Glasgow-based production house Novasound and fast-paced images by filmmakers Perry Johnson and Kevin McLean, it addresses this “girl script, this birthright which kills spirit”.

Lindsay then asks if it’s possible to write “scripts” of our own.

The poem was first commissioned by Melbourne-based literary magazine Going Down Swinging and was subsequently published in 404 Ink’s The F Word in summer 2017.

Since then other poems have become more central to the stage show, she says, such as The Schism Ring which addresses the divisions in contemporary feminism.

“The job of poetry is to put ideas out there and to acknowledge when there are huge ruptures in society,” she says.

“We can’t deny that there is a huge rupture just now in feminism and we have to be able to talk about it. That poem is about how we have to stop being horrible to each other on the internet and talk about things reasonably – that’s a burning desire behind the project.”

Lindsay, who started writing poetry in 2002 at the age of 20, has a talent for “tackling difficult-to-navigate topics in ways that engage and challenge the audience in equal amounts,” according to Dave Hook aka Stanley Odd frontman Solareye.

In attempting to write about some of the most emotive and controversial issues of the day, Lindsay used univocal poetry, a technique introduced to her by fellow performance poet Luke Wright.

Here the writer is restricted to using just one vowel sound.

In print, This Script is subtitled “A part-univocal poem in and about I”; Backlash At A Bar “A scene in A” and Gender Me “A dance in E and O”.

“I was trying to write about sex, gender and feminism, all of which people are febrile about right now,” Lindsay says. “Writing about this huge, controversial thing, I thought if I could restrict myself in a way, it would allow me to write about it.”

Lindsay found the impressive form rekindled her passion for language following a period where she struggled to write. Following years of intense work with award-winning spoken word outfit Flint & Pitch and literary-themed cabaret Rally & Broad, she was “burnt out”, she says.

Though she made her print debut in 2011 with a collection titled The Things You Leave Behind, Lindsay says This Script feels like her first proper book.

“I published too soon, and that had put me off writing another collection for years,” she says.

"This Script is the first time I have consciously tried to write a literary collection. It was also to get my reputation out there as a poet again because I’ve been very much a programmer and a mentor for others in recent years.”

Though This Script was always intended to be a work existing in three different forms, Lindsay’s principal concern is the live arena.

“The stage is where I want my work to exist,” she says. “I want people to come and see the live shows.

“I’m looking for an openness, an acknowledgement that these things I address are happening. I am not looking for people to agree with me. That’s not the job of poetry. The job of poetry is to say: ‘Here are some issues, what do you make of them?’”

August 4 to 11, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, 4pm, £12. Tel: 0131 556 9579. Tickets:, See the film poems at

This Script is published by Stewed Rhubarb Press