Make plans for StAnza 2012: programme now online

Thursday 22 December 2011, 14:42

The Dave Batchelor Quintet will be celebrating jazz and Larkin

With the Christmas and Hogmanay offering  us all the chance for a well-earned break, when better than to browse through the StAnza 2012 events programme? It's now available online here

As well as the list of events already confirmed (and watch out for extra ones to be announced shortly), you can find out more about the poets, writers, artists, film makers and musicians who are taking part.  To whet your appetite, we have provided some biogs, sample poems, links and clips.

Headlining poets include Jackie Kay (pictured), Kathleen Jamie, Christopher Reid, Lavinia Greenlaw, Joe Dunthorne and Michael Symmons Roberts; from the USA, Chase Twichell and Kwame Dawes, plus international voices from Germany, South Africa, Poland, Macedonia and Sweden.

Meet Jackie Kay at StAnza 2012

The festival's themes are The Image and Poetry by Degrees. Expect a wide range of events - exhibitions, a book launch and breakfast discussions - linking poetry with visual art and photography, TV and film. Check out StAnza's celebration of poetry in education with an expanded range of workshops, inspire sessions and discussions.

Lively performances, drama and music are also a key aspect of the festival. Highlights include Karen Dunbar's hilarious A Drunk Woman Looks at a Thistle and Kind of Larkin, a tribute to Philip Larkin's love of jazz with the Dave Batchelor Quintet (pictured) - whose line-up, please notice, includes poet/musician Don Paterson.

Tickets will be on sale in January, so enjoy savouring the prospect of what's to come.

Categories: News

Book Group for StAnza 2012

Thursday 15 December 2011, 06:51

Ever wished you had a chance to read and discuss poetry before you hear the poet read? If so, read on. Every March StAnza’s spring festival brings a wide range of poetry to St Andrews, presenting poets past and present from around the world. In 2012 as a collaboration between StAnza and the Open Association at the University of St Andrews, a new Book Group will meet before the festival to read and discuss some of the poets who will feature at StAnza 2012, including Michael Symmons Roberts and Kathleen Jamie.

Robert Crawford, one of Scotland’s leading poets and currently Professor of Modern Scottish Literature, and PhD students from the School of English at the University will lead three early evening sessions from 5.30pm-7.30pm on Wednesdays 1st, 15th and 29th February in the Conference Room at St Katherine’s West at 16 The Scores, St Andrews KY16 9AX. For more details contact Ruth Harris or Debbie Wilbraham on 01333 462275 or

Categories: News

Robert Crawford on Simonides and Body Bags: this Sunday on BBC Radio 4

Thursday 24 November 2011, 13:58

Robert Crawford

Earlier this year at the festival, the poet Robert Crawford gave the StAnza Lecture on Simonides and the War on Terror: an insightful and closely argued discussion which connected the ancient Greek poet with modern warfare. In a key image, he compared the poetry of Simonides, which has come to us in fragments, to the body bag, making connections between ancient and modern attitudes to memorialising the casualties of war.

Following on from this, StAnza 2012 will be featuring an exhibition of poetry and images by Robert Crawford and photographer Norman McBeath from their book Simonides. You can find out more about that when the festival events programme goes online on 30 November at

Meantime they have now made a programme about Simonides, to be broadcast this Sunday (27th) at 4.30pm on BBC Radio 4. It will be available afterwards on iPlayer, if you don't get the chance to tune in. There's more about the broadcast here.

Categories: News

Powerful poetry of landscape and loss at StAnza's reading

Tuesday 15 November 2011, 10:23

Getting lost was one of the common themes shared by the two poets at StAnza’s reading in St Andrews last night.  Fife based John Burnside’s poem ‘The Vanishing of my Sister’ recalled a sibling temporarily getting lost and   ‘The Lost Husband’ even contemplated the oddness of feeling adrift in one’s own home. Canadian poet Karen Solie evoked the rural landscapes of her native Saskatchewan, where rural depopulation has led to the emptying out of once familiar small towns. She confessed in one poem to wandering through these places using Google Earth, finding the streets ‘denuded of childhood flora’ and wondering ‘would we burn these places rather than see them change or simply burn them?’

This was a rare opportunity to see two prizewinning poets exploring profound questions about identity and displacement with great wit and grace. John Burnside, Professor of Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews, recently won the prestigious Forward Prize for his latest collection Black Cat Bone. Karen Solie won the Griffin Prize in 2010. She is visiting Fife as the inaugural holder of an International Writers Residency, provided by the  Barns-Graham Charitable Trust and the School of English at St Andrews. Both poets delighted the audience with new unpublished work and Solie’s stay at Balmungo House, the former home of the late artist, Wilhemina Barns-Graham, was already, she said, influencing her poetry.

StAnza will be working with the  Barns-Graham Charitable Trust to provide an all day workshop at Balmungo House during the festival next March. This and other programme details will be available later this month at

Categories: News

Prizewinning poets join forces at St Andrews

Friday 4 November 2011, 22:16

StAnza is welcoming in November with a unique evening of readings and conversation with John Burnside, winner of this year’s Forward Prize for Best Collection, and Karen Solie, the acclaimed Canadian poet and the winner of the 2010 Griffin International Prize.

John Burnside's latest volume, Black Cat Bone, won this year’s Forward Prize for Best Collection, the first time this much lauded poet has won this award. His poetry was praised by the judges as having a ‘vitality of language, an undertow of complexity and an evocative dream logic.’

Karen Solie is considered to be one of Canada’s best poets, the recipient of many prizes, most recently the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize for her third collection, Pigeon (2009). The judges described her poems as ‘X-rays of our delusions and mistaken perceptions, explorations of violence, bad luck, fate, creeping catastrophe, love and danger.’ Karen was one of the highlights of StAnza 2010 and she is back in  Fife as the inaugural holder of the Barns-Graham Charitable Trust/School of English International Writers Residency.

The event  will take place at 7pm on 14 November in the elegant Town Hall, Queen’s Gardens, St Andrews. Admission is free, but you would be wise to book ahead to ensure you get a place. To reserve a seat, email not later than Friday 11th November with your name and contact phone number. Doors open at 6.40pm. Reserved seats must be claimed by 6.45pm at the latest.

The event is being held in partnership with the Barns-Graham Charitable Trust and The School of English at the University of St Andrews, with support from Creative Scotland.

Categories: News

StAnza sets up stall

Sunday 30 October 2011, 12:26

Fife Book Fair

StAnza had a presence in Dunfermline last weekend at the Fife Book Fair which took place in the lovely conservatory annex to the Tiffany cafe in the Carnaigie Hall overlooking the Forth road and rail bridges. Excellent coffee, tea and cakes were consumed with enthusiasm as people came in to browse, and it was nice to see plenty of familiar faces on the other stalls. On the StAnza stall were supplies of our flyer for StAnza 2012, vibrant in its blue and black, but there was also interest in the few remaining copies of Skein of Geese, our anthology from the 100 Poets event which celebrated our 10th anniversary back in 2007. The anthology has been a regular seller at the festival each year and it's rather sad that we're now down to the last half dozen copies. And as ever, there was huge enthusiasm for the poems-for-all "sma buiks" left over from March.

By Leaves We Live

Yesterday was the turn of the annual By Leaves We Live book fair at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

Once again StAnza set up stall along with dozens of book and magazine publishers. It was a lively day. The sun shone (mostly) making the library shelves gleam and the library staff were on hand to assist, providing stands, blue tack and access to their kitchen for reviving cups of tea. After the doors opened at 11am people came in good numbers, books and magazines were bought, flyers passed from hand to hand, and interesting conversations took place - in the library and also in the coffee house next door which turned into a regular Poetry Cafe for the day.

There were also formal talks in the library every hour on the hour throughout the afternoon, with standing room only for some. Once again the "sma buiks" were hugely popular and fortunately poems-for-all's Richard Hansen was on hand to replenish our depleted stocks.

Categories: News
Subscribe to StAnza Poetry Festival Blog