Top tips from top poets (6)

Monday 20 July 2020, 19:30

The latest top tip for writing a good poem comes from Mhairi Owens, winner of last year's Wigtown Poetry Prize. Mhairi read at StAnza as part of the Wigtown Prize Showcase event in March. Here's her advice:

You can find the earlier five top tips collected together here.

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Top tips from Gerry Cambridge and Anthony Anaxagorou

Saturday 11 July 2020, 15:26

Continuing with our top tips for writing good poems from poets who took part at this year's festival, we can now share videos from Gerry Cambridge, Anthony Anaxagorou and Jen Hadfield. We hope you find these are interesting as we did!

Gerry Cambridge's top tips

Anthony Anaxagorou's top tips

Silent Words, by Jen Hadfield

And so you have them all easily accessible, here are the earlier top tips (this time in audio versions) from John Glenday and Shehzar Doja.

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Top tips from top poets (2)

Thursday 2 July 2020, 15:47

Photo: Brian Cook

We have asked several of the poets who took part at this year's festival for their top tips for writing a good poem and we'll be sharing their thoughts on this over the coming weeks. We hope you'll enjoy listening to them as much as we have. Today, we're sharing advice from Shehzar Doja, who read at this year's first Border Crossing event.

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Top tips from top poets

Sunday 28 June 2020, 11:05

John Glenday is one of the poets who made a big impact with his poetry at this year's StAnza festival. We have asked John and several of the others for their top tips for writing a good poem and we'll be sharing their thoughts on this over the coming weeks.  We hope you'll enjoy listening to them as much as we have. So now, over to John.

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Berlin poesiefestival online this week!

Tuesday 2 June 2020, 16:45

Poesiefestival Berlin

The poesiefestival Berlin is usually a summer highlight for many. Before the pandemic it was due to go ahead from 5 to 11 June, and they’ve jumped through hoops to turn their programme digital so it can be viewed online this month. This means their festival is available to a far wider audience than usual, and that should be cause for much rejoicing. You can see the whole programme at

Here at StAnza we’re getting very excited about the prospect. We’re hoping to tune in to a lot of events from Berlin, and of course everyone will have their own favourites, but we thought you might find it helpful if we flag up a few events which jumped out at us, so if you keep reading, you'll see we’ve suggested below some you might find of interest.

However, like all good poetry festivals, part of the joy of the poesiefestival is the social interaction, the post-event catch-up with friends and others attending. Usually in Berlin that’s in the courtyard of the Akademie der Künste in hot summer sunshine with a cold beer or white wine in hand. Alas, we can’t bring you the courtyard or Berlin summer evenings, and you’ll have to provide your own refreshments, but we thought it would be nice to arrange our own informal catch-up on Zoom after at least one of the poesiefestival events.

The event we’ve picked for this is a lecture by the Canadian poet, Anne Carson:

Sunday 7 June at 6.30pm BST: Berlin Poetry Lecture 2020 – Anne Carson

13 short and mini-talks, poetological and philosophical forays taking us into the worlds of Antiquity and Carson’s own childhood. The Lecture will be given in English, with a German translation by Anja Utler available.

Our informal post-event Zoom meeting will be scheduled to start at 7.30pm but might be late depending on when the lecture finishes, and we might update on the timing later. We will be very happy to welcome a dozen or so others to join us for a virtual post-event to share our thoughts about the lecture. Our intentions are to have a very informal and loosely structured session lasting no longer than an hour, and it’s fine if people don’t want to stay for the whole time. This is very much an experiment but we have our fingers crossed. If you would like join us in this, please email and we will send Zoom event invitations to the first 12 or so who email us.

NB As you will see from the poesiefestival programme, Berlin are planning their own talk about the lecture afterwards, if you’d rather watch that.

Here are some other poesiefestival events which might interest you:

Friday 5 June at 7.30pm BST: Weltklang

The polyvocal opening of the poesiefestival berlin. Poets from all parts of the world read, sing and perform in seven different native languages.

The poesiefestival always starts with the Weltklang, an evening of poetry from a range of poets from around the world, including this year several who will read in English, such as Ariana Reines for the USA and Koleka Putuma from South Africa.

Saturday 6 June at 6.30pm BST: Reversible, a Verschmuggel event

A trilingual reading is the end product of this year’s VERSschmuggel/reVERSible translation project featuring poetry from Canada and Québec. In virtual space, six German-speaking poets meet six Canadian poets writing in French and six writing in English.

Other names familiar to StAnza audiences elsewhere in the programme are Vahni Capildea, Will Harris, Maud Vanhauwaert and Kayo Chingonyi.

And although the festival doesn’t launch until next Friday, already they are featuring events each day at 5pm BST from Poets’ Homes around the city. Videos for those which have already taken place can be seen online, and you can see today’s, which includes Jan Wagner, online at

The poesiefestival Berlin are making their events available free online but they are asking for donations. You can find the link to make donations to them on the online page for each event.

I do hope you're able to take the chance to enjoy some of these events, and if you can't, or prefer not to watch events live online, many of them will be available as videos afterwards in their Media Library, as will talks during the festival.

Finally, in other news, watch out for a small StAnza commission we're inviting calls for, we'll be sharing information on that soon. And if you haven't yet completed our Looking forward to 2021 survey, giving us your thoughts on our plans for next year, there's still plenty time to do that yet. You can find the survey at:

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Poetry Online : update at 17 April

Friday 17 April 2020, 13:46

As we continue through these difficult days of lockdown, we've been sharing more content from this year's festival online. A summary of what we've shared to date is now available in the following summary.

PDF icon Poetry Online.pdf

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