IMPORTANT issues including nation, race and belonging are at the heart of a debut collection of poems.

Blood Salt Spring is organised into three sections and takes readers from inherited wounds, the traumas of tearing them open and on to a hopeful spring where pain and trauma can be laid down and a new future imagined.

Hannah Lavery’s poems were published in March, and the mum-of-three acknowledged that the poetry explored a range of big issues.

She said: “It is something I have always done. I’m a playwright as well as a poet and I’ve written plays around racism in Scotland and theatre that tackles that.

“I think my poetry is responsive to the world we live in. We are living in particularly difficult times and I explore that and reflect on it.

“The collection is trying to find a way forward.

“The spring is hopefully looking forward and forces us to find our own place, voices and individuality when often I find we live in a very divisive world and it stops us and our own individuality.

“This piece of work is trying to move forward to a place of hope and a place where you are allowed to be all you are rather than part of you that fits into political or cultural discourses that are happening at the moment.”

Mrs Lavery, whose autobiographical play The Drift was produced by National Theatre of Scotland, told the Courier that the poems looked at “women, women of colour, their relationship to Scotland, belonging, home and reflecting on the current political shifts and discourses.”

The award-winning poet, from Dunbar, was confirmed as the Edinburgh Makar last September, selected by representatives of the Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish PEN, The Saltire Society, City of Literature Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Six months into the three-year role, she said: “We are looking at different things.

“That’s really exciting and lots of possibilities, opportunities to give others a voice and give people opportunities to explore and collaborate and share their stories through poetry.”

Speaking the day before the launch of Blood Salt Spring in March, Mrs Lavery said: “It is a thrill because [the collection’s publishers] Polygon are such an established and respected publisher.

“It is exciting to be part of that and to have my poetry sharing a home with people like Liz Lochhead.

“To be able to publish a book and for it to be given such care and attention by an experienced publisher, it is wonderful.”