StAnza 2020 Edinburgh Preview Event, 4 February

Wednesday 15 January 2020, 16:20

If you like to have your StAnza programme in paper and ink, the good news is that the StAnza brochure for 2020 is almost ready and packed with exciting listings. We expect to have supplies fresh from the printers at our Edinburgh preview event on 4 February.

Thanks to our generous and welcoming hosts, this preview takes place at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EW. This year it's on Tuesday 4 February from 2pm to 3pm, and we’re very grateful to the NLS for their support.

There will be short readings from two of this year’s festival poets, Robert Alan Jamieson and Jay G Ying, plus some music from Alannah Moar who will be playing at the Festival launch in March, as well as a round-up of some of the festival highlights. Rachel Rankin, who is taking part in our Norwegian/Scottish translation project will also offer some translations of poems from Norwegian. It promises to be a delightful hour of entertainment and if you’re in the Edinburgh area, be sure not to miss it. It’s a free event but please book a seat. You can do this online at this link.

And keep watching this space for news of this year's StAnza pre-festival Book Group, coming soon. 

Categories: News


Tuesday 31 December 2019, 21:30

Artwork by Astrid Jaekel

We hope you are enjoying this holiday season and catching some of the glorious winter sunshine we’ve had here today. As we approach the end of 2019, we’d like to thank you for your continued interest and support in StAnza, without which we couldn’t achieve what we do.

Our box office online bookings begin on Tuesday 14 January. The first ticketed event at StAnza 2020 is on 4th March and the main festival runs from 4th to 8th March, but we are hoping to add in a further eve-of-festival event on 3 March so more information on that soon.

Meantime, we have been adding more events and poets and artists to the online programme since it was launched on 30th November, so do be sure to keep checking for the latest programme news. Further events will be posted over the next week or two. When you're relaxing over the holidays, why not spend some time checking through the core programme, and if you haven't yet booked your accommodation and travel, perhaps now is the time to do so. StayInStAndrews offer a one-stop shop for a huge range of accommodation in town, and advance rail tickets are now on sale for the festival dates.

You may have noticed already that we plan to arrange BSL interpretation or captioning for our Saturday Poetry Centre Stage event and would be happy to arrange this for other events on request. Full information on this can be found here.

We're delighted to be part of Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 programme, which begins tomorrow, and we'll have more information on that shortly. We'll also soon have information about our line-up for our Edinburgh Preview at the National Library of Scotland on 5 February, and about this year's pre-festival Book Group in St Andrews, so watch out for more news on all that's coming up.

Meantime, all that remains for the moment is for us to send you very best wishes for 2020 and to hope that it is kind to us all. There is a wonderful new moon shining in a perfectly clear sky above Fife. Let us hope that’s a good omen. To finish, here is a quote from one of our 2020 poets, Lachlan Mackinnon.

"I sat on a hillside, alone
with the universe, hugging my knees.
The moon looked good, shining down through the trees."

Lachlan Mackinnon From Doves (Faber, 2017)

Happy New Year!

Categories: News

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 292

Tuesday 31 December 2019, 15:39

Midnight In Stranraer

Oyster catcher hour
in the midnight port,
delving sleekit through
thick velvet blackcurrant;
phweeps ringing sweetly
through sleepytime streets.

No lime northern lights
to outline the dives
against the skyline.
No splintered doorway
exposing Heaven’s riches;
God flashlit in repose.

Just the lonesome echoes
of a luckless flyer, whose
hopes of a meal are fading
on the grey of the breeze.

Still she eases over
garage, police station,
with a sharp imitation
of a fat, happy constable,
blowing blue faced
on his wornout whistle.

This will be a quiet one,
save for the piper in the sky,
waiting impatient for a catch
in the bask of moonshine.

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

BSL and Captioning at StAnza 2020

Tuesday 17 December 2019, 18:05

Having offered British Sign Language interpreting for the past two StAnza festivals, we arranged interpreting for two events for the first time at StAnza 2019. We’re pleased to be continuing this at StAnza 2020, and we plan to arrange BSL-interpreting and captioning at our Saturday night Poetry Centre Stage with D.A. Powell and Mimi Khalvati. We’re happy to offer BSL interpretation for other events too; if you would like to attend a particular event and need an interpreter, please write to as soon as possible – and by 4 February at the latest – and we’ll do our best to arrange this.

As BSL poetry interpreting is very much its own artform, for readings (as opposed to discussions) in venues with AV capabilities we plan to combine BSL with captioning, with the text of the poems being projected, while any introductions or chat between poems is interpreted.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Categories: News

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 291

Sunday 1 December 2019, 10:39

North Berwick Law

The wind gasps, exasperated;
scattering my seaweed curls,
the waves scraping my cheeks,
obscuring endless views so blue,
a map that unfurls on and on.
The guttural gorse scent,
overpowering below, blasted away
by the salted gust that whispers
tales of hermits, wars and prisoners –
histories woven in its midst.
My voice sings out, swallowed instantly,
anonymous and fleeting
in this lyrical landscape –
an uninhabited island forgotten
in a beautiful immensity.

Kirsty A. Niven

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

StAnza 2020 launched!

Saturday 30 November 2019, 17:06

Artwork by Astrid Jaekel

Happy St Andrews Day and greetings from StAnza. I'm delighted to announce that we have launched our core programme for March. You can see it online now at this link. We shall be adding to this over the weeks ahead, so keep watching this space, but I hope you find the core programme as exciting as we do.

As per the last two years, the festival launch will be a free opening night gala offering a taste of what’s to come with poets reading and performing, interspersed with film, music and art from some of the internationally acclaimed poets from Scotland, the UK and overseas coming to St Andrews in March.

This will launch the festival with a line-up including internationally acclaimed poets from all over the world. Among the headline voices performing at next year’s festival are Jen Hadfield, the youngest ever winner of the T S Eliot Prize, American poet, editor and human rights advocate Carolyn Forché, recently shortlisted for the US National Book Awards, D.A. Powell, also from the USA, Anthony Anaxagarou, winner of the 2019 H-100 Award for writing and publishing. They are joined by British writer, artist, film programmer and activist, Jay Bernard, just this week shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize. The festival will also welcome one of Scotland’s best-known crime writers, Fife’s Val McDermid who will share her favourite poems at StAnza’s first ever Desert Island Poems event .

Other poets performing at StAnza include Wendy Cope, Michael Longley, Alec Finlay, Cecile Lǿveid, Mimi Khalvati, Johan Sandberg McGuinne, Gerry Cambridge, Maitreyabandhu, Anna Crowe, Ida Börjel, Maja Langvad, Cecilie Lǿveid, Morten Langeland, Charlotte Van der Broeck, Yolanda Casstaño, Jan Baeke, Pauli Tapio, Lesley Harrison, Juana Adcock and many more. The annual StAnza lecture, Mother, Mother Ocean will be delivered by Matthew Caley.

StAnza traditionally focuses on two themes which interweave with each other to give each annual festival its own unique flavour. Next year’s themes are Coast Lines and Due North. StAnza will also feature a Nordic language focus, including a Norwegian/Scottish translation workshop and showcase project, and we are very happy to be part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

We will also have a strong Gaelic presence at the festival, including a Gaelic poetry showcase in partnershp with The Gaelic Books Council. Our other showcases this year will be in partnership with Wigtown Poetry Prize and the Edwin Morgan Prize. We also have a diverse and interesting range of past poets featuring in this year’s Past & Present sessions, from the great Norwegian poet Stein Mehren who died recently to Dorothy Wordsworth, Robert Lois Stevenson and “Mrs” Ann Radcliffe of The Mysteries of Udolpho fame.

Once again, the festival presents a dynamic line-up of spoken word and performance poetry, with lively Poetry Café events from Sabrina Mahfouz, Tony Walsh, Birdspeed, Angie Strachan and Colin Bramwell, as well as two poetry shows, The Remains of Logan Dankworth from Luke Wright and Songs My Enemy Taught Me from Joelle Taylor. There will be a range of exciting art exhibitions and installations – including artwork from Astrid Jaekel, Valerie Coffin Price and Tom Humberstone – and all the usual favourites: Border Crossings, Five O’Clock Verses, Poetry Centre Stages.

With around 80 poets taking part in over 100 events at StAnza in St Andrews, it's impossible to mention them all but there is certainly something to suit everyone’s taste. So, come along and join the many poets, musicians, visual artists and filmmakers who'll be bringing the historic Fife town alive with poetry, music and art for five days from 4 to 8 March. Or you can perform your own work at our open mics and the annual StAnza Slam, hosted by Katie Ailes, sign-up for one of our many workshops, or join in the Saturday evening Collective Reading. If after this you need a pick-me-up, stop by The Old Chemist Shop where we’ll have supplies from The Poetry Pharmacy waiting for you.

Start the day with poetry: let coffee, pastries and a provocative panel discussion at our breakfast events ease you into the festival day (join the live webcasts if you can’t be there in person). And if you’re a night owl, late night poetry and music events will keep things lively until midnight. The festival hub at the Byre Theatre is the perfect place to catch up with old friends and make new ones, or to relax with a book and coffee. With its plethora of exhibitions, installations, films and talks about poets and poetry past and present – and the chance to enjoy the wonderful town of St Andrews rich with beaches and walks, ruins and shops – StAnza 2020 offers a multi-layered festival experience with something for everyone. There are too many wonderful poets, artists and musicians taking part to list them all here, so please do check out the website programme.

Tickets will go on sale in January, so you have plenty of time to browse and make choices. However, if you will be travelling to St Andrews, and haven't already booked accommodation, now would be a good time to do so and you might find useful for this.

Categories: News
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