Poetry in the eye of the beholder: StAnza's visual art shows

Monday 7 March 2011

StAnza boasts 12 exhibitions and installations by poets and artists, all of which explore the fruitful relationship between poetry and visual art. They are complemented by a series of poetry films, digital projections and photography, showcasing the talents of a new wave of poet/filmmakers. Here is a taster:

Steve Ronnie’s The Secret Love of Objects creates the hidden voices within old technology and one of his exhibits is on the cover of the StAnza brochure. Based near Newcastle, he is working on his first poetry collection and will be reading at StAnza as part of the New Writing North Showcase. Catriona Taylor’s  A Thousand Sails is a response to the landscapes of Sorley MacLean’s poetry. The artist trained at the Edinburgh College of Art after working for some years in the theatre.

Iranian born painter and printmaker, Jila Peacock’s Ten Poems of Hafez is a series of calligraphic shape poems, using words from the poetry of Hafez. Click here to view an extract of her film The Tongue of the Hidden (also showing at StAnza), also inspired by Hafez’s metaphysical verses.

StAnza has been showing selections of short poetry films for some years and the artform is growing more significant: this year’s crop includes work by Ronnie, Taylor, Alastair Cook, Martin Belk and Kenny Munro

Poetry takes on three dimensional forms too: the Poetry Society’s centenary knitted poem will be on display at the Town Hall, all 13 by 9 metres of it, and the project has inspired a smaller St Andrews version, a knitted haiku created by the town’s keen knitters that is also on display. Visitors are invited to pick up needles and wool and add a square. And the story behind Tagore’s Poetry Boat, painted by art students in Bengal, will be revealed by Kenny Munro at the St Andrews Public Library on Saturday 18th March.

The exhibitions are all free and to be found at the Byre Theatre, the Town Hall and the gem that is the Trust Museum in St Andrews. The artist Jean Johnstone, who organised the shows for StAnza, is leading a guided tour of them all on Saturday 18th at 3.30pm. A perfect way to appreciate a visual treat.

The Tagore Poetry Boat from Bengal