Join the Conversation - free workshop

Friday 19 July 2019, 12:11

If you're interested in our workshop this month, Join the Conversation with Helena Nelson on writing poetry reviews, we have now firmed up the arrangements which are set out below. If you haven't yet reserved your place, email And please bring along your own pen and paper.

Join the Conversation: a workshop on writing reviews

Wednesday 31st July: 1.15pm - 4.00pm
The Conference Room
Byre Theatre,
Abbey Street, St Andrews
KY16 9LA
Categories: News

More poetry at the Edinburgh festivals!

Tuesday 16 July 2019, 17:46

If you spend much time in Edinburgh, you’ll probably have noticed the tell-tale signs that the city is once again gearing up for its annual festivals: the first intrepid street performers have made their way to the Royal Mile, while tour guides and their groups wind through the growing crowds. Along with the sword swallowers and comedians, a wealth of poetic talent comes to Edinburgh in August. Here are just some of the shows we’re looking forward to.


Hannah Raymond-Cox is very much a StAnza alumni, so we’re thrilled to see her returning to the Fringe! Hannah took part in her first ever slam at StAnza 2015, returning to claim the winning title the following year.

You might also remember Hannah from StAnza 2018, when she performed a shorter edit of Polaris at one of our Poetry Cafés – if you missed this or want to see the whole show, make sure you get yourself down to the Scottish Poetry Library this summer. A remarkably crafted, viscerally performed queer coming-of-age tale, Polaris dips into questions of how teenage girls talk about their bodies and desires, as well as paying homage the redemptive power of really good soup.

17:00 on 2 – 24 August (except Sundays and Mondays), Scottish Poetry Library


We were lucky enough to see Harry Josephine Giles’ Drone when it came to the Traverse early in the summer, and: wow. This is performance poetry at its most beautiful and bizarre best. Harry Josephine makes full bodily use of a sparse set for this sequence of poems which plays with the different meanings of the word drone, examining technology, gender and labour with an utterly playful seriousness.

19:10 on 31 July – 7 August (except 1 and 12 August), Summerhall


Jemima Foxtrot charmed StAnza audiences with her previous spoken word show, Melody, in 2016: funny and bittersweet, the show interwove poetry and song with a lightness of touch and seriousness of intent. So we’re excited to see her latest offering Cactus, a solo show exploring confessional art and modern life.

20:15 on 3 – 24 August (except 15 August), Bar Bados

We’ll be sharing more as the festival draws closer, so watch this space!

Categories: News

Join the Conversation!

Monday 15 July 2019, 21:08

We're delighted to announce that we're offering one of our StAnza stand-alone events later this month. This will be a free workshop in St Andrews delivered by the ever wonderful Helena Nelson of HappenStance Press.

‘More poets should write reviews!’ says Helena Nelson. ‘But not the boring kind.’ So here’s a workshop to encourage creative review writing. It’s an art, like any form of writing – good for your style, good for your profile, and good for your poetry. Come along to a practical, hands-on-the-poetry session that offers reading, writing, discussion, key techniques, plenty of laughter, and some free gifts.

We're firming up arrangements for date, time and place, and we'll confirm these soon, but at present it's looking likely to be on Wednesday 31st July in the Byre Theatre. The workshop will be free but ticketed, and limited in capacity, so if you'd like to reserve a place, pending confirmation of the details, please email We'll allocate places to those who email first.

Postscript: details now confirmed for the workshop as follows:

Wednesday 31st July, 1.15pm to 4.00pm

Conference Room, Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, St Andrews

Categories: News

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 285

Monday 15 July 2019, 20:13
How a hill matters
watched from a train,
looking up from a book,
coming home from London,
sitting on the right side to see
the shining shallow Clyde,
cut like peat from the grassy
moors beyond the Uplands,
before the falls, before the port.
We walked once from our house
to Tinto, along pink lanes,
up the quiet side,
the prehistoric heave of a lone hill.
I went up on my own sometimes.
Living in the woods, needing
barren mass, an effort of height.
With you, eating cheese
and Marmite sandwiches at the top,
backs to the wind, settling
our bottoms on clunking stones,
imagining Ireland, Lochnagar.
It’s Scotland’s largest cairn,
as old as smelting. I wish I’d known
we were supposed to carry a rock
to the top each time. Instead
of bringing, I took a Tinto stone.
It lies here now on my sill in Canada,
where I live in the woods again.
One day I’ll return it to its cairn,
put Scotland back where it belongs.
Joanna Lilley

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 284

Wednesday 10 July 2019, 16:23

Tiree: Ringing Stone

Boldly across the machair, springy underfoot,
then field gates to open, bolts icy in the wind,
or stringed shut with obscure knots; one
with twisted wire too stiff for fingers, climbed.
When I asked at the farm they said
‘It looks like nothing else around‘.

Past a small wind turbine silver-snipping
obsessively at a water-colour sky,
starlings rise from the marsh-grass,
skimming as a collective mind
through jostling air, in complex skeins
confusing as the path I try to find.

Following the sea-edge, fractal, fractured
by endless arguments between the waves,
eroding gales, lichens, grasses, sheep.
The path bends in a conjuror’s trick, its
reveal this shoulder-high egg,
skin-smooth, grey, a single heavy thought.

Fingers pulled across its micro-pitted face
read no message in its extra curves:
cupped hollows in the rock, made by
who knows who, once upon a time.
For sacrificial blood, good luck? From boredom,
‘I was here?’ The meaning’s gone.

I take a hand-sized pebble,
strike the surface, magic out a mellow note,
hanging in the air. Within its ‘clung’
the absent glacier groans,
this ringing stone polished and dropped,
to lie until the ice returns.

Ruth Aylett

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry at the Edinburgh festivals

Wednesday 10 July 2019, 16:00

As August approaches, we're checking out what poetry is going to be available in Edinburgh and happy to share this with you. Here's the first batch, with events featuring JL Williams. If you would like us to post your Edinburgh festival poetry events here, then email them to in the same format as below.

30 July 2019, 19:30 - 21:00
Vahni Capildeo & fellow poets Alycia Pirmohamed, Iain Morrison and JL Williams
Lighthouse Bookshop, Edinburgh
Slow Reading in the Garden Workshop
Daphne Loads and JL Williams
7 August 2019, 10:15 – 13:00
The Botanic Cottage, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, EH3 5LR
Breaking Bread at the Edinburgh International Festival
15 August 2019, 18.00 - 19.30
Art Late: 'The Moment': Music and Words inspired by Victoria Crowe
23 August 2019, 19.00 - 21.00
City Art Centre, Edinburgh

Please note that we don't have any more information on these events than we post here so if you want to find out more, you would have to ask the poets or the venues.

Categories: News
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