To discuss bookings for events, workshops, performances or other freelance work, please email rachel_mccrum@hotmail.com. I am now based in Quebec, Canada, but frequently travel to Scotland/Ireland/England/Wales/Europe for family and work reasons, so I just might be on that side of the Atlantic at the right time…

To order copies of The First Blast To Awaken Women Degenerate, please contact Freight Books here: https://www.freightbooks.co.uk/product/the-first-blast-to-awaken-women-degenerate/

Please feel free to use photos from the website for press etc. We would appreciate it greatly if you would credit the photographers as indicated. 


Bio (Short)

‘deep emotional punch’ (Sabotage Reviews)

Rachel McCrum was born in 1982 and grew up in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. She has a BA in English Literature and Language from Jesus College, Oxford. She has previously published two pamphlets with Stewed Rhubarb Press: The Glassblower Dances (2012) and Do Not Alight Here Again (2015). She lived in Edinburgh, Scotland from 2010 to 2016 where she was the Broad of cult spoken word cabaret Rally &Broad, the inaugural BBC Scotland Poet in Residence and a recipient of an RLS Fellowship in 2016. Her first book The First Blast To Awaken Women Degenerate will be published by Freight Books in summer 2017. She now lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Photo: Suzanne Heffron

Bio (Long)

Exhilarating to read these poems, the voices are ranging, Irish, Scottish voices, they come in, banging doors, from the street and the public house and the rented room above the library, with a blast of salt air and the smell of malt and red-knuckled ideas that say ‘Let’s dance’ and there’s so much oxygen in them, to breathe them in is rich for the blood. They are women’s voices, this is a woman’s voice, talking to you, this book.’ (Francesca Beard)

Rachel McCrum is a poet, performer, workshop facilitator and platform builder who has brought her distinctive blend of integrity, fire and inquiry to stages and classrooms in Scotland, Montreal, Haiti, South Africa, Greece and Northern Ireland. Her first pamphlet The Glassblower Dances (Stewed Rhubarb Press) won the 2012 Callum MacDonald Award, was the inaugural BBC Scotland Poet in Residence in 2015, and awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in 2016. She is a founding partner of Stewed Rhubarb Press and the SHIFT/ Poetry Collective, and was the Broad of cult Scottish spoken word cabaret Rally & Broad (The List Hot 100 #12 in 2015).

In 2012, Rachel won the International Women’s Day Slam, and was a finalist in the Scottish Slam Finals. She was runner up in the BBC Edinburgh Festival Fringe Slam in 2013 and 2014.

She has performed at Latitude, Wickerman, StAnza, La Festival de la Poesie (Montreal), In Zync (South Africa), Les Nuits Amerindiennes (Haiti) and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Her second pamphlet Do Not Alight Here Again formed the basis of her first solo show, presented at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015. She is a co-founder of the Quebec-UK cinepoems project, a member of Quebec poetry collective La Poesie Partout and the Administrative Director of Mile End Poets’ Festival. Her first book The First Blast To Awaken Women Degenerate will be published by Freight Books in summer 2017.

Rachel has extensive experience as a workshop facilitator, platform builder, events organiser and host for poetry, performance and spoken word. Between 2012 and 2014, she was the Project Manager for the Inky Fingers Communities Project, working to develop spoken word with low income communities in Mid, East and Central Lothian. She worked with libraries, writers’ groups and schools in Portobello, Leith, Tyne & Esk, and Linlithgow. She has delivered projects for the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Scottish Poetry Library, the Scottish Book Trust, Words First (Roundhouse/BBC 1xtra), BBC Scotland, Luminate (Scotland’s Festival of Creative Aging), Poetry By Heart and the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam.

As of 2014, Rachel is on the Board of Trustees for the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature. 

To see more of Rachel’s workshops, please follow the link here.


Praise for The First Blast To Awaken Women Degenerate (2017)


‘This is angry poetry, hungry poetry but never lean, mean poetry – she salivates and slavers, at times stretching language almost to breaking point, stuffing it full till it’s almost spilling through the slits in meaning, the five sound senses singing out generous, gargantuan and gorgeous in lists and litanies, polemics and parables; this is poetry that performs itself on the page out loud and proud – then can turn on a sixpence and stop the heart with a sudden, spare moment of naked vulnerability and tenderness.‘ [Liz Lochhead]

Poetry is a kind of sculpture here: bodies formed out of forgotten cities, assembled across waters and generations. Old histories are smashed to pieces, glued together into new identities, then smashed all over again in restless, ceaseless cycles of migration and reinvention. McCrum’s writing captures that feeling that Home is always a point on the horizon, something we are endlessly heading towards, although it might just turn out to be a chip in the windscreen.’ [Ross Sutherland]

The First Blast is rich in voice, threaded throughout with an abundant sense of sound and joy in words that carries directly from writer to reader. But, although the poems live well in the ear, measured by breath and movement, the voice is also self-questioning, uncertain — as sceptical of its mellifluities as it is playful in them. The result is a searching investigation of what it means to speak, and what the use is of speaking as a poet and a human here and now. There’s a bubbling political fury, a righteous anger that comes through with bitter twists and surprising gentleness, a desire to speak and act, and a reaching towards the fullest possibilities of what that might mean.’ [Harry Giles]

Do Not Alight Here Again (2015)

‘a tactile quality…[o]n stage and on page, these words have body.’

Gutter Magazine

The Glassblower Dances (2012)

‘…combines the linear and leisurely flow of the performer with the feel for structure and pattern of a page poet, and a complexity of thought which does credit to both.’

The Scottish Review of Books

‘The sense that this is the perfect way to say something is never far off as you read her poems’

Poetry Scotland