Greetings on National Poetry Day! We’re delighted to mark the occasion by revealing some of the headline acts for next year's festival which will take place from Wednesday 1st March until Sunday 5th March in St Andrews.
We're thrilled to have so many fantastic poets, including Scotland's new Makar Jackie Kay, already confirmed for StAnza 2017. Next year will be our 20th festival, which will be an exciting anniversary. We plan to celebrate this and move into our third decade with a festival to remember including a special project to be launched in March. We look forward to revealing more details of the full programme, which is fitting of such a significant milestone, in the coming months.
Among the big names from the literary world to perform at next year's annual festival are Scotland's new Makar Jackie Kay, Robert Crawford, the poet, critic, biographer and professor at the University of St Andrews and Jim Carruth, appointed poet laureate for Glasgow in 2014. They will be joined by Vahni Capildeo, recent winner of this year’s Forward Prize, Scottish poets James McGonigal and A.B. Jackson as well as Sarah Howe, winner of the T.S Eliot prize for her first collection Loop of Jade and previous T.S. Eliot prizewinner Alice Oswald. Zambian poet, Kayo Chingonyi and Afro-Guyanese playwright, poet and children's writer, John Agard, will also perform at StAnza 2017.
StAnza traditionally focuses on two themes which interweave with each other to give each annual festival its own unique flavour. Next year’s first theme On the Road showcases poetry inspired by and reflecting on travel and migration, while the second theme The Heights of Poetry looks at how poetry engages with Scotland’s high places, and at the poetic connections between Scotland’s hills and mountains and those elsewhere.
Following on from the success of StAnza's focus for 2016, on German poetry and culture, next year's festival will have a dedicated language focus on French, under the title, La Nouvelle Alliance which will see various French speaking poets taking part along with other events with a French connection. Through La Nouvelle Alliance and the theme The Heights of Poetry, StAnza will engage with Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
Over 60 poets will be taking part at StAnza in St Andrews, along with many musicians, visual artists and film makers bringing the historic Fife town alive with poetry, music and art for five days in March. More details will be revealed over the coming weeks and the core programme will be live on our website at www.stanzapoetry.org on 30th November. Tickets will be on sale from early January.
Meantime good luck to everyone who has an event on today. This includes Glasgow where they’re celebrating National Poetry Day with the Big Issue, and there will be poets alongside Big Issue vendors at city centre bus and train stations. It also includes Bristol, where StAnza 2016’s Hashtag Poet Clive Birnie will have his hashtag poems projected on the large city centre screen for the day. So look out for poetry happening wherever you are today.
And can we recommend in particular today Jackie Kay's poem Threshold written for the opening of the Scottish Parliament this year, which celebrates the welcome Scotland extends to anyone coming here and to their languages. StAnza was very happy to assist in finding some of the translated words included in the long version of the poem which can be read online at this link: Threshold
Finally, in other news, if you enjoyed the wonderful Nora Gomringer at StAnza last March, you might like to know she’ll be appearing at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Saturday 8th October in an event celebrating Dorothy Parker.
The full festival programme is online and a filtered list of poetry-specific events can be found here. They also have their inaugural Lit Crawl which has lots of poetry in it too (Clive Birnie's Burning Eye are doing a session, as are Mother Foucault, Milk Poetry etc.)