Choose Poetry. Choose StAnza.

Thursday 7 October 2021

Text as image: Choose poetry. Choose words. Choose reading. Choose writing. Choose to attend in-person or online. Choose to support young poets (and older poets too). Choose coffee v tea – choose cake v pie. Choose to participate. Choose StAnza.

First of all, a very happy National Poetry Day from all at StAnza! We hope that you will all find five minutes in your busy schedules to read or write a poem or two. I’m going to do so the minute I’ve stopped writing this, and I hope you’ll follow my lead! This year’s NPD theme is ‘choice’, and we would also like to take this moment to invite you to ‘choose’ to support us, during a new crowdfunding campaign running between now and mid-November.

The last two years have been challenging times at StAnza, as they have for so many arts organisations. But they have also provided a chance to dream – to imagine what might be possible as we look ahead, through and beyond the pandemic. As I’ve outlined in previous posts, there are lots of exciting plans in the pipeline which we aim to realise this year. Not only do we hope to return to an in-person festival in March 2022 (festival title: Stories like starting points), we also plan to deliver this in hybrid form with at least 25 events livestreamed both in and out, further extending our international reach. December 2021 will see the launch of Well-versed, supporting the establishment of poetry reading groups across Scotland (and beyond), while in January 2022 we will launch a pilot for a new, online young people’s poetry writing programme called Scotland’s Young Makars!

StAnza’s aim is to become a key intervention in poetry: a forum for discussion about the form and its relationship with the wider world, with a commitment to enabling ever greater numbers to participate in poetry. In other words, while maintaining continuity with all that has come before, our inclination is to think big!

StAnza has chosen this moment to reach out, through our first ever crowdfunding appeal, for support. Over the years, we have achieved a vast amount on limited funds, but money this year is particularly tight due to cutbacks from many quarters. So we could now do with a one-off boost. No matter how small or large your contribution, it will help provide:

  • a solid foundation: for StAnza in the years ahead;
  • a step-up: to help us realise our ambitions for poetry in Scotland and beyond;
  • a helping hand: which we might reach out to those in areas of less artistic opportunity, and for Scotland’s poets of tomorrow;
  • an open door: and all while keeping our ticket prices at a level that is accessible for all.


This crowdfunding appeal is being launched in partnership with many of the UK and Scotland’s leading publishing houses, who have generously agreed to donate bundles of 4-5 books which will be offered as rewards for your donations. Donate £10 and you will be awarded 1 raffle ticket to go into the draw for a book bundle, £20 for 2 tickets, all the way up to 10 for £100! If you donate £50 you will also receive the option of sending me a poem for critique, and for £100 you will receive an option of 20 minutes of 1-1 feedback. (No obligation to take these up, of course! One person suggested that a reward might involve going for dinner with me, so you have at least dodged an optional bullet there!) Publishers who have already agreed to support our appeal include Blue Diode, Red Squirrel, HappenStance, Carcanet, Faber, Bloodaxe, Nine Arches, Guillemot, Granta, Shearsman and Pavilion! So that’s at least 11 mystery bundles of books going to lucky winners in time for Christmas. Huge thanks from us to the publishers for their generosity…


StAnza faces some difficult choices over the coming months in terms of which of our ambitions we can achieve and which we need to place on pause – by choosing to support StAnza you will make these choices that little bit easier.