Good morning. First of all, a quick reminder about our free Edinburgh Preview event which this year will take place in an early afternoon slot at 2pm on Tuesday 5th February at the National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge. Do come along if you can to hear about this year’s festival and enjoy a few taster poets from three of this year’s poets – Diana Hendry, Lisa Fannen and Joe with the Glasses – and a song or two from Megan D, who will be part of this year’s opening night programme in March. You can reserve a seat by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
And of course, if you come along on Tuesday, you’ll be first to see our new-look StAnza brochure which we will be collecting from the printers on Tuesday morning, hot from the press.
If you can’t come on Tuesday but are on our postal mailing list for the StAnza brochure, then it will be winging its way to you over the next week or so. If you are not on that list, can’t easily pick up a copy where you are and would like us to post you a copy, please email us on email@example.com.
Meantime, this year’s pre-festival Book Group had our first very enjoyable session last Thursday, with fascinating discussions about the poems of Ishion Hutchinson and Liz Berry. We have one more to come, again at the Golf Museum Café and the next on Wednesday 13th February from 2.00pm to 4.00pm. It’s also free so do join us if you can to read and discuss some of the poets appearing at this year's festival.
As ever, none of the above would be possible without the support we get from our funders, sponsors and supporters. We manage to do a lot on a fairly small budget, and want to keep the festival affordable and accessible to everyone, so every pound of support helps. If you would like to help ensure that we can deliver all our plans for this year and continue after that, and could offer some support either as a single donation or a regular one, every pound would be hugely appreciated. You can donate anything from £1 using the donate button on the home page of our website, or anything from £2 via our LocalGiving page here. If you are a UK tax payer, on the LocalGiving page you can also click the gift aid box and help us even more, at no cost to yourself. If you appreciate what StAnza offers, please do think about helping us
Finally more reminders. Firstly, you only have a few more days to take advantage of our Early Bird Discount which ends soon; and if you haven’t booked your accommodation yet for March, you might want to see what Stay In St Andrews can suggest.
We are looking for volunteers to help with this year's festival. The festival has about 100 events featuring poetry, music, film, visual art and talks and discussions, and works with a team of about 80 volunteers, many of whom return year after year. We are looking for people willing to help with front of house duties, staffing exhibitions and events, taking tickets and handing out questionnaires, and also by taking photographs.
StAnza is famous for its friendly and inclusive atmosphere. We offer any necessary training and guidance, and try hard to ensure that our volunteers enjoy the experience. It can also be a useful thing to have on your CV.
If you are able to offer anything from a few hours up to several days, this would be welcome and appreciated. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with "front of house volunteer" in the subject line, and a note of your name, address and contact details, and let us know when you would be available between 9.30am and 8.00pm from 7 to 10 March. Please also let us have the name and contact details of a referee.
The festival takes place at various venues around the town centre of St Andrews. The hub venue is the Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, St Andrews KY16 9LA and volunteers report for duty to the Festival Desk on Level 2 (near the Box Office) in the Byre Theatre. The theatre is about 15 minutes walk from the town’s bus station, with other bus stops a few minutes from the theatre and there is a regular bus connection from Leuchars Railway Station. Car parking in the town centre is mostly limited to two hours but there are longstay car parks elsewhere in town. Volunteers would be expected to report to the Festival Desk in good time before the start of their duties. Travel expenses will be reimbursed to successful applicants.
Good news for the weekend - the box office will be open for ticket sales for StAnza 2019 from Tuesday 15 January. The hyperlink from our booking page to the Byre Theatre's box office will go live that day. So get ready to book! And why not spend time this weekend browsing the listings. There's a full page for each event, plus a profile page for each participant, with sample poems from most of the poets, which should give you plenty of information on which to make your choices. Happy browsing!
And if it helps decide which events to choose where they are at the same time, here's the Matrix of the programme as it is at present.
(c) flyer cover image by Nichola Martin
As ever, thanks to our generous and welcoming hosts, our Edinburgh preview event takes place at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EW. In an innovation this year, we've moving to an early afternoon slot on Tuesday 5 February at 2pm, and we’re very grateful to the NLS for their support. There will be short readings from two of the poets on the StAnza 2019 programme, Diana Hendry and Lisa Fannen, a short set from Joe with the Glasses, one of this year's spoken word poets at our lunchtime Poetry Cafe events, plus some music from singer-songwriter Megan D, who will be playing also at the Byre Theatre on the opening night on 6 March. As well the poetry and music, there will be a round-up of some of the festival highlights. It promises to be a delightful hour of entertainment and festival information, a great way to get up to speed quickly on what will be on offer in St Andrews in March. If you’re in the Edinburgh area, be sure not to miss it. It’s a free event but please book a seat by emailing us on email@example.com, or phoning 07391 247 661.
Meantime, of course, you can check out the whole programme as so far confirmed at our website at www.stanzapoetry.org and tickets go on general sale on Tuesday 15 January.
Watch this space also for news soon about this year's pre-festival Poetry Book Group.
Happy St Andrews Day! We are getting ready to launch our core programme for StAnza 2019, 6 - 10 March (plus an extended eve-of-festival workshop on 5 March). It should be live at some point this evening, if not before. We're really excited about it and hope you will be too. Here are a couple of photographs from last year's festival, by Elisa Roithmann, to remind you how glorious it was. Meantime, have a very happy St Andrews Day.
As nights are drawing in and autumn arrives, we’re delighted to look ahead to spring as we bring you the first news on StAnza 2019, which will take place from 6 – 10 March next year (plus a workshop on 5 March). We also have for you today a bumper newsletter with details of our Book Week Scotland event on 20 November and a round-up of other forthcoming poetry events in Dundee, St Andrews and Edinburgh.
A recent press release revealed some of the headline acts who will take part at StAnza in March. In keeping with our reputation of being a truly international affair, next year’s programme will not disappoint, featuring poets from all over the world who will travel to join many more from Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Among the headline voices performing at next year's annual festival is poet, artist and film-maker, Imtiaz Dharker, awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry in 2014. She is joined by award-winning Jamaican poet and essayist, Ishion Hutchinson and Welsh poet, playwright, columnist, and editor Menna Elfyn. Also on the programme for 2019 is Caroline Bird, shortlisted for both the TS Eliot Award and the Ted Hughes Award in 2017.
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 Off the Page and Another Place. The dedicated language/culture focus for 2019 will be the Mediterranean and Beyond. We will also be engaging with Scotland’s Year of Conversation.
Dozens of poets will be taking part in StAnza, along with many musicians, visual artists and filmmakers bringing the town of St Andrews alive with poetry, music and art for five days in March, and I look forward to revealing further details of our exciting 2019 programme over the coming months.
Meantime, you don't need to wait until next March as StAnza will be taking part again in Book Week Scotland later this month. To celebrate BWS, which this year is exploring the theme of 'rebellion', we're running a workshop with the award-winning poet Hugh McMillan.
Join us as we read and write poetry on the theme of rebellion. We’ll be asking how poets have historically responded to and engaged with protest in their times – be it political, social or religious – in order to explore how poetry can be political without being polemical. We’ll then use this as a starting point to produce new work.
Hugh McMillan has seen his work published widely in Scotland and beyond. He’s won a number of awards for his poetry, most recently the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award in 2017, and has published six full-length collections, in addition to numerous pamphlets. His most recent collection, Heliopolis, appeared in 2018. Here are the details:
When - 11:00 - 13:00, Tuesday 20 November
Where - Public Library, Church Square, St Andrews
Tickets - free but ticketed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 07391 247 661
In Dundee next weekend, Cooper Gallery in Dundee offer a free oral poetry workshop with poet JL Williams who led one of the StAnza workshops last March. The workshop connects with their current exhibition, Great Noises that Fill the Air, by artist collective Bow Gamelan Ensemble. Full info about the workshop can be found here; and participants can sign-up by emailing email@example.com.
Pages of the Sea is a unique moment to say goodbye, together, to the millions of men and women who left these shores during the war, many never to return. Film-maker Danny Boyle invites us to join him in a project to mark 100 years since Armistice and the end of the First World War. On West Sands in St Andrews on 11 November between 12.00 to 2.30pm a portrait of an individual from the First World War will emerge from the sand. And then, as the tide rises, we'll watch as it's washed away. Similar events will take place elsewhere in the UK.
Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem especially for the moment, to be read by individuals, families and communities on the day of the 11th. https://www.pagesofthesea.org.uk/
There are more great poetry events coming up at Toppings in St Andrews in November, starting with Don Paterson on 6th November, Kathleen Jamie on 8th November, and then readings from the popular and much missed Jim Stewart's posthumous collection This on 14th November.
Jim was a regular attendee at StAnza and took part in the festival in 2016. Kirsty Gunn writes a foreword to the collection, describing it as “testament to the poet Jim Stewart's singular and distinctive way of being in the world.” WN Herbert, the Dundee Makar, says of it:
‛THIS serves to establish Jim Stewart, with a single volume, as one of the most significant Scottish poets of the last decade.’
More information on this launch of This and all the Toppings events at https://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/events/st- andrews/
The ties between Scotland and Norway are traditionally marked each Christmas. This year on 18th November, events will this year include a free poetry and music evening with Christine De Luca and Norwegian poet, translator and musician Odd Magne Goksøyr. Full information is online here.
Further on the WW1 theme, Robyn Marsack will be giving a talk at the SPL on Thursday 22 November about Edmund Blunden and WWI, to mark the publication of her edition of his Selected Poems, and will also be in conversation with his daughter, Margi, about the aftermath of the war and living with a WWI veteran.
Finally, this weekend the Poetry in Aldeburgh festival takes place in Suffolk, and in Edinburgh there’s been more poetry at the Radical Book Fair at the Lighthouse in Edinburgh.