SAnza’s inaugural Summer Open Mic took place last night in Zest Juicing and Coffee Bar in St Andrews. This was our second joint venture with the lovely people at Zest, following the great success of the Early Evening Open Mic held in the same venue during last March’s festival. This time around, over fifty people braved the changeable Fife summer weather for a splendid couple of hours of coffees and smoothies, cakes and cookies, songs and poetry.
The event was run in collaboration with the University of St Andrews Creative Writing Summer School programme, and so as well as local poets from Fife and Tayside (a mixture of familiar faces and new arrivals), and the course tutors and staff, there was also an international feel to the evening with a selection of aspiring young poets from New York, Philadelphia, California, Brazil, Columbia, Uruguay and elsewhere. Several of the students read poems they had written in workshops that very morning: from page to stage in under six hours, poetry doesn’t get much newer than that.
Our MC for the evening, Milton Balgonie, asked the people signing up for slots to supply “one fact about you”, and these included, in no particular order: “I’m a glider pilot”; “I spent yesterday at the Royal Garden Party at Holyrood”; “makes a mean risotto & is a devil with a chainsaw”; “I have curly hair”; “blankets frighten me”; and “once trained an emu to assist with handicapped children”.
We also had a passing poet who was on his way to dinner further along the street, but who noticed the open door (and the open mic), and so stepped in to read a poem.
And by the end, even the sun showed up again to close off a fine and fabulous evening for all.