Canadian poet becomes first transatlantic Bard of the Mod

Tuesday 25 October 2011, 01:27

Congratulations to Lewis MacKinnon, the Canadian poet, who was crowned the Bard of the Mod last week in Stornaway, the first transatlantic poet to receive the honour.

Lewis, who hails from Cape Breton and is a champion of Gaelic in Canada, took part in StAnza in 2010. Find out more about the ceremony here.

Categories: News

Shortlist for T.S. Eliot award announced

Thursday 20 October 2011, 20:49

We StAnza folk are excited to see the rich array of poets shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, one of the most prestigious in the poetry world.  Contenders include the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, recent Forward Prize winner John Burnside, who teaches at the University of St Andrews, and several poets who, like them, have appeared at StAnza in recent years: David Harsent, Sean O'Brien, Esther Morgan, Leontia Flynn and Daljit Nagra. The full list is here:

Categories: News

Special 2 for 1 ticket offer: John Cooper Clarke

Friday 14 October 2011, 16:58

Legendary “Punk Poet” John Cooper Clarke is set to play the HMV Picture House Edinburgh on Friday 28th October 2011.

His biting, satirical, political and very funny verse, delivered in his rapid-fire performance style, made him a figurehead for the Punk movement in the 70s and 80s and his influence is clear in the songs of bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Reverend and The Makers and Plan B. Now he is back performing again and his Edinburgh show will be an unmissable experience for fans old and new. Find out more about him here:

StAnza supporters and followers have the chance to buy two tickets for the price of one., All you need to do is click on the link below to order the tickets and use the code word ‘edinburgh’

Tickets are subject to availability.

Categories: News

Sporting chances for slammers at St Andrews

Sunday 9 October 2011, 18:03

MC Harry Giles

Saturday night’s Risk-a-Verse slam at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews had it all: high emotion, lots of laughs, bespoke prizes for the poets and nail-biting drama both on and off-stage.  One poet had come from Amsterdam to take part, three more found themselves stranded on the Forth Road Bridge in a go-slow traffic snarl-up  – would they or wouldn’t they make to the show on time?

Fifteen poets were set to take part in the StAnza/Inky Fingers slam.  Poetry competitions can be as fiercely contested as any, but this one, held as part of this month’s Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film festival (as well as fitting in with National Poetry Day and its Games theme), was billed as friendly and thanks to MC Harry Giles  (the M is for magnanimous) the fast-moving, electric atmosphere in the Studio Theatre was inspiring. Poets brought up all sorts of subjects: love, sex, anti-depressants, the Coalition Government, supermarkets, men who don’t dance… strong competition indeed and the judges, Sophie Baker and Young Hawkins, descending unashamedly into sporting cliché after the first half, agreed it was ‘all to play for, Harry.’

We were live-tweeting the event and at least one follower was keeping track of the slam while watching the X Factor, but the tensions were rising far higher in St Andrews. The audience had cast their votes, the judges were ready to confer – but would those last three poets make it over the bridge? Yes, following a flurry of texts and ‘where are you now?’ and with seconds to spare, all three arrived, performed their slots and marvelled at their good luck.

More drama as the play-offs started and first –time slammer, Stewart Hogg, emerged as a finalist – good poetry slams are made of such discoveries. Both he and the eventual winner Claire Askew (both pictured) were treated to rapturous applause. All the contestants were awarded prizes to match their poems: fudge for the sweetest poem, a Bart Simpson mug for the scariest, a torch for the flashiest … everyone was a winner. 

Our thanks to all the poets who took part Alec Beattie, Andy Jackson, Claire Askew, Stephen Welsh, Colin McGuire, Douglas John McLean Cairns, Jonny Lovett, Mairi Campbell Jack, Rose Fraser, Rory Woodroffe, Matt Macdonald, Stewart Hogg, Nicola Watt, Robin Smith and Gill Andrews, And of course to the enthusiastic audience.

Categories: News

Forward Poetry Prize Winners Announced

Thursday 6 October 2011, 12:37

St Andrews has much to celebrate in the Forward Prizes for Poetry this year.

Our congratulations to StAnza regular John Burnside, Professor of Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews, whose Black Cat Bone won the prize for Best Collection last night; and also to StAnza volunteer Rachael Boast, who studied for a PhD in Creative Writing at the university, and whose Sidereal was a richly deserved winner of the prize for Best First Collection. The prize for Best Single Poem was awarded to the late R. F. Langley for 'To a Nightingale'.

Rachael will be reading at the West Port Book Festival on Saturday, 15 October, and we are delighted to announce that she will also be appearing at StAnza next March.

A full list of the poets for StAnza 2012 will be published on our website later today.

Categories: News

A warm literary welcome at the Westport

Tuesday 4 October 2011, 17:56

Edinburgh’s best kept secret is the Westport Book Festival, held among the bookshops, pubs and trendy art spaces in the city’s answer to Soho. Starting next Thursday, 13 October and running till Sunday 16th, the festival in its new autumn guise offers a varied and witty programme: new and established talents (the sort of people, such as Janice Galloway, who sell out at the summer festivals can be seen here in smaller, more intimate venues), open mics,  plus a spot of book binding  and tea dancing.  

There’s plenty of poetry to enjoy, including a smattering of folk familiar to StAnza: book a place at Jo Bell’s workshop , catch readings by Rachael Boast,  William Letford, Tracey S Rosenberg and Emily Dodd, or listen to Bruce Durie chat about what is thought to the first poem in Scots.

Check the full programme and take advantage of the generous ticketing system: 40 per cent of tickets are available in advance, the rest on the day. All tickets are free! The festival website is a mine of information:

Categories: News
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