Kevin Mclean photo (c) Dave Vallis
Kevin Mclean photo (c) Dave Vallis
Happiness in Stanza - this Festival is unique. The best stage poetry can get: a lovely team, a warm audience, happy poets and apricose beer. A place where poets, editors, translators and poetry lovers can meet, laugh connect and exchange. It taught me a good deal about poetry and how poetry can be celebrated. Aurelie Maurin, Berlin
We’ve finally reached the equinox, the midway point between StAnza 2016 and the 2017 festival: the perfect moment to look back and the celebrate the festival that was. And what a festival!
For our 19th annual festival the international line-up of poets, artists, musicians, writers and film-makers (listed below) who featured in this year's programme included some of today’s leading names from the UK as well as exciting newer voices. They were joined by poets from Australia, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Canada and the USA who come together to deliver around 100 readings, performances and discussions, and music and film events, along with workshops and a plethora of other opportunities to get involved. Our programme offered something for everyone, from Breakfast at the Poetry Café to late night events in the café bar.
StAnza grows and transforms each year and we’re (still!) thrilled to bits that some of our innovations for 2016 met with such a warm reception. We had our first ever dedicated language focus this year, with the spotlight on German-language poetry, and it was simply wunderbar to see so many people attending and enjoying these events celebrating foreign-language poetry and the power of translation. Highlights from this ranged from a boundary-blurred, jazz-fuelled Saturday night performance from Nora Gomringer to a surprising installation on the poetry of manhole covers. (We kid you not.)
The best festivals spill out of the auditoriums and workshop spaces into the spaces in between, and StAnza 2016 was no exception, with poets, artists and audience members taking poetry out into St Andrews. Throughout the festival, poems walked around in the form of poetry tattoos; hashtag poetry was curated online and around the festival by the ever inventive Clive Birnie; and in a more sombre moment, poets and audience members alike gathered together for a collective reading in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers. It was a festival warm with the sharing of words and of ideas.
But as always, the last word has to go to a poet.
“StAnza – possibly the perfect poetry festival…” Kirsten Luckins
Photographs from the festival, thanks to all our photographers.
2016 Reviews and Interviews
StAnza 2016 Information
StAnza 2016 took place from 2-6 March, 2016
Our themes for StAnza 2016 were City Lines, and Body of Poetry.
In the first we looked at urban verse, and how poetry engages with city life and connects cities. For Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, we designed a festival programme which celebrated architecture and explored how poetry can engage literally, metaphorically and environmentally with our built environment. Both in discussions and creatively, we asked how poetry can help people build personal and public creative spaces. Our second theme, Body of Poetry, embraced the many ways in which poetry celebrates and explores human and other bodies, literally and metaphorically, looking at their needs and appetites, strengths and weaknesses. And in an innovation for 2016, we also had our first dedicated translated language focus with a strand of events showcasing German poetry.