Our StAnza poem postcards have proved very popular at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The first supply went within days, and the second supply even quicker. A further and final supply is on its way, so if you didn't get one and want to, they should arrive in Charlotte Square by 8.30pm tonight. The book festival has almost another week to run, but the postcards are likely to disappear before they fold their tents, so best get in quick!
Legacy projects and events resulting from StAnza which we don’t plan, which spring from connections made at the festival, are rewarding in a very special way. An unexpected outcome from StAnza 2018 led to a further event and a new project this year, the outcome of which now features in a StAnza e-book available online here, featuring poems by the Scottish poet William Soutar (1898-1943).
The poets Geart Tigchelaar and David Eyre met in St. Andrews when both took part in StAnza 2018. During the festival they began their own project, the translation of Geart’s poems from Frisian into Scots. When invited to recommend poets for the inaugural Soutar Festival of Words, StAnza were happy to suggest that Geart and David might be invited to meet again to discuss their project. This event took place in Perth in April 2019.
Geart cycled from the Netherlands to Scotland for the Soutar Festival of Words, and afterwards he and David travelled together across Scotland. As well as his bike and tent, Geart brought with him a newly discovered enthusiasm for Soutar’s poems. Geart kept a Facebook travel journal of his 2019 spring visit to Scotland in the form of photographs, one posted each day on his journey, along with a suitable Soutar poem or excerpt.
Geart suggested that StAnza might like to do something with them and we were very happy to agree. This involved research into William Soutar and copyright for his poems, and we are most grateful to the National Library of Scotland, the Friends of William Soutar, the A. K. Bell Library in Perth and the Soutar Festival of Words for helpful responses to our queries. These beautifully matched poems and images selected by Geart Tigchelaar were gathered together in this StAnza e-book. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have, and if you’d like to read more of William Soutar’s poems, the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh would be a good place to start.
It's countdown now to Saturday 10 August when Edinburgh International Book Festival opens their gates again in Charlotte Square. From 9.30am each day until late, there are a feast of events to enjoy. what ever your tastes. We've already suggested some poetry events you might like to try, which come with a special offer for StAnza readers. Anyway, whether you're there for an event, dropping in to enjoy the vibe and maybe a coffee or drink, or to browse in the bookshop, why not pick up one of StAnza's free poem postcards when you're there and post someone a poem. There are a range of eight poems, all commissioned by StAnza for our festival in March, and to make it as easy as possible, we're providing the Book Festival with a supply of our poem postcards which come complete with postage stamps. So pick up a postcard when you're in Charlotte Square, pop on an address, and post a poem to someone you know.
Call for Poems/Prose Poems on Resistance and Displacement
2019 is the 30th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall and great changes in East and Central Europe, preceded by the Third Wave of Democracy in Asia, Africa and Latin America, followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, including the Velvet Revolution around the world from 1989 to 2018. But the 1989 Student Movement in China ended in tragedy. It is essential to look at the Poetry of Protest from China in the larger context of international poetry.
Mānoa Journal of International Poetry (published by University of Hawaii Press) is looking for strong and unique poems/prose poems in English or English translation on the theme of Tyranny (against any form of Tyranny) and the theme of Displacement (exile, self-exile, forced migration, refugee, etc.)
Please send your poems (previously unpublished in the USA) to Frank Stewart, editor of Mānoa, email@example.com
or Ming Di, guest editor of these two issues, firstname.lastname@example.org
by August 20, 2019
The two anthologies will be published in Dec 2019 and Spring 2020.
Now that we are into August and Edinburgh festival season, we’re delighted to see that Edinburgh International Book Festival is hosting an exciting and broad programme of poetry events again in 2019. You can hear from the UK’s newly appointed Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, as well as a whole range of Scottish poetic talent. The Babble On – Spoken Word strand returns curated in partnership with Becky Fincham and Luke Wright to bring you the best international stars and giants of the UK scene. Plus, free drop-in Unbound with Edinburgh Gin evenings feature include performances from Inua Ellams, Hollie McNish and more.
The Book Festival Village takes over Charlotte Square Gardens and the west end of George Street from 10–26 August. Entry is free and it’s open from 9.30am until late every day. There are bookshops, cafes and bars to explore, so come down and enjoy the sunshine.
In an exclusive offer for StAnza readers, you can enjoy 2-for-1 tickets on some of Edinburgh International Book Festival’s top poetry events. See event details below and use the promo code STANZA19 at checkout to redeem.
This offer is valid on full price tickets only, subject to availability. It cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or discounts.
Sun 18 Aug 21:45 - 22:45 The New York Times Main Theatre, Charlotte Square Gardens
REMEMBERING MIKEY SMITH
The release of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Dread Beat an’ Blood spoken poetry album 40 years ago established dub-poetry as a new literary genre. Now 66, the Jamaican-born artist is widely recognised as one of Britain’s most significant poets; he is only the second living poet to be published by Penguin Modern Classics and in 2012 received the Golden PEN award for ‘distinguished service to literature.’
In this special event, Johnson pays homage to friend, social worker and fellow Jamaican dub-poet Mikey Smith. Before his tragic death at a political rally in 1983, Smith recorded his debut album Mi Cyaan Believe It, which catapulted the poet to legendary status.
Johnson is joined by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Anthony Wall – who produced the 1982 movie Upon Westminster Bridge about Smith – contemporary dub-poet, musician and performer Roger Robinson, and Jamaican-raised author Leone Ross. Remembering Mikey Smith brings together film excerpts, poetry readings and conversation to celebrate the legacy of one of Jamaica’s most influential literary sons. Book Now
A Local Arena series event produced in partnership with Filmhouse Edinburgh, Speaking Volumes and Lucy Hannah.
Fri 16 Aug 20:30 - 21:30 Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre, Charlotte Square Gardens
POEMS MADE IN THE MOUTH
Two performance poets offer queer perspectives on British experience. In January 1981, thirteen teenagers died in a house fire in New Cross. Jay Bernard’s award-winning Surge: Side A traces a line between that horrific fire and the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017. Meanwhile, Edinburgh-based Iain Morrison brings us his debut I’m A Pretty Circler, an infectious, thought-provoking collection in which Emily Dickinson rubs shoulders with drag queens. Book Now
Sun 11 Aug 20:30 - 21:30 The New York Times Main Theatre, Charlotte Square Gardens
THE MUSIC OF LIFE
Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry has long been both private and public, her knack for voicing her own imagination and the sighs and roars of the world around her unparalleled. She recently ended a decade as Poet Laureate, and the final collection of her tenure, Sincerity, is a vibrant testament to her poetic powers, where moving elegies nestle beside political rallying cries. Pure, distilled Duffy is a Book Festival highlight. Book Now
Wed 14 Aug 14:15 - 15:15 Garden Theatre, Charlotte Square Gardens
Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan, the poet’s personal attempt to broaden European horizons by exploring the concept of the Other and creating a poetic dialogue between East and West, marks its 200th anniversary this year. Persian academic Narguess Farzad, poet Robin Robertson and Goethe expert Jan Wagner are joined by Haus Publishing’s Barbara Schwepcke to discuss this classic text and a specially commissioned series of new poems, translations and essays. Book Now
Thu 15 Aug 18:00 - 19:30 The Spiegeltent, Charlotte Square Gardens
POEMS THAT BUILD BRIDGES
The West-Eastern Divan was Goethe's last major body of poetry, a tribute to Persian verse. To celebrate its bicentenary, A New Divan brings together 24 poets from West and East in a dialogue exploring otherness. This major international event brings together a brilliant array of acclaimed poets from East and West, including Don Paterson, Kathleen Jamie, Robin Robertson, Jamie McKendrick, Antonella Anedda, Chloe Aridjis, Sean O'Brien, Narguess Farzad, Jo Shapcott and Gilles Ortlieb to perform specially commissioned pieces. Book Now
Sun 18 Aug 16:00 - 17:00 Garden Theatre, Charlotte Square Gardens
OCTAVIA POETRY COLLECTIVE
Octavia is a poetry collective for women of colour founded by Rachel Long in response to the lack of representation in literature and academia. Since 2015, Octavia have read beyond the canon and written themselves on their own terms, coming together every month at the Southbank Centre. This event showcases the breathtaking talents of Rachel Long, Tania Nwachukwu and Hibaq Osman in an hour of unforgettable poetry. Book Now
Thu 22 Aug 18:00 - 19:30 The Spiegeltent, Charlotte Square Gardens
A SCOTS-ARGENTINE MUSICAL CONVERSATION
Throwing Voices is a unique collaborative project looking at how local language, culture and tradition can resonate across linguistic divides. Using selected objects and words, Argentine writer Agustina Bazterrica and Scottish poet John Burnside share new music, verse, songs and discussion. The authors have worked with acclaimed London-born musician and writer Luke Sutherland (who grew up in Orkney and studied in Glasgow) to create a boundary-crossing performance exploring the similarities and differences between indigenous Argentine and Scottish cultures. Book Now
Supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund
Mon 19 Aug 20:45 - 21:45 Spark Theatre on George Street
PITHY TWEETS AND POETIC APHORISMS
The New Yorker described aphorisms as the ‘obscure hinterland between poetry and prose’ but in Don Paterson’s hands they can feel like a cross between Hollywood noir one-liners and well-judged tweets. He skillfully demonstrates that aphorisms may well be the perfect poetic form for our digital days. Paterson’s new collection, The Fall at Home, provides plenty of literary golden nuggets for today’s event. Book Now
Just two more sleeps till the first day of the Edinburgh festivals! If, unlike us, you haven’t yet created a multi-coloured spreadsheet to guide you through the coming weeks, here are a few pointers…
Whether you caught Hannah Lavery’s gorgeous reading at StAnza 2019 or have seen The Drift, her heart-wrenching spoken word show, you’ll understand why we’re intrigued to check out her latest offerings, Call and Response, a work-in-progress as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. If you haven’t seen Hannah perform before: be prepared to leave behind your preconceptions about what poetry performance can do. In an intimate performance, Call and Response responds to the death of 31-year-old Sheku Bayoh, died in police custody on the streets of his home town – Kircaldy, Fife. An intimate performance in an informal setting, the show invites you to join in a conversation about identity, community and belonging in Scotland.
14:00 on 5-7 August at the Lyceum Theatre
We loved The Unsung last year at the festival, a gorgeous interweaving of poetry and music to celebrate unsung musical heroes. (Admittedly, a fellow audience member, who proudly informed us that he’d been to see the show every single day that week, may have loved it slightly more…) This year, the team behind The Unsung are back with A Beautiful Way to be Crazy. Based on interviews with female and non-binary practitioners across the music industry, the show weaves together poetry, live music and audio clips in a tale of growing up and finding a voice which explores what it means to be a girl in the business of music – with a little help from Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Delia Derbyshire.
11:45 on 19-25 August at the Underbelly, Bristo Square
Another favourite from last year’s Fringe was 147Hz can’t pass, a stunning piece of performance poetry by Ink Asher Hemp. Ink is definitely a rising talent to watch in the poetry and theatre scenes, so don’t miss them this year in Sad Eyes to Smile With, a show of queer identity plus slam poetry divided by austerity and multiplied by three.
12:35 on 12-17, 19-24 August at Greenside on Infirmary Street