Happy National Poetry Day with news of StAnza 2021

Thursday 1 October 2020

Happy National Poetry Day!

(c) Michael Macari

The cultural sector has been hit extremely hard by Covid-19 so we're delighted to be sharing some good news today. We have been successful in obtaining sufficient core funding to go ahead with plans for a hybrid festival in March 2021. While we'll be sorry not to see your faces in the Byre, given the constraints Covid places on event organising and travel, as well as the economic impact of the pandemic, we’re not only very pleased to be able to plan a festival, but excited about the possibilities and opportunities which a hybrid festival offers.

StAnza 2021 will take place from 10 to 14 March offering a dynamic mix of audio and digital, live-streamed, virtual and pre-recorded events. As ever we’ll work to two themes, fittingly ‘Make It New’; and some light verse with ‘No Rhyme nor Reason’, because we all need a reason to laugh; and as 2021 is the 30th anniversary of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, our translated language focus, ‘Beyond the Iron Curtain’, will be on languages from the former Eastern bloc.

The new format festival will still include traditional StAnza favourites such as readings and round table events, but we also plan new events capturing the full potential of the digital realm, including interactive poetry installations, ‘At Home’ events with poets and an enhanced filmpoem and sound poem programme. We are also working on a series of events which can be enjoyed by those with little or no access to the internet. We hope to be able to offer a few live outdoor events, though this will depend on what happens about Covid and regulations for events; we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed, but also prepared for everything to be delivered online if need be.

Throughout the pandemic, people have turned to poetry as a way of dealing with these unusual circumstances, illustrating the impact poetry has on our wellbeing and emotional lives. StAnza 2021 will celebrate this profound relevance showcasing a wide range of poetry, from page to performance, concrete verse to spoken word, established artists to emerging voices – committed as ever to the fact that when it comes to poetry there really is something for everyone. We are also well aware that a festival has to be more than the sum of its events, that a community is created around each festival, and we will do our very best to ensure that we manage that next March, albeit in different ways. We really hope you’ll join us on this journey towards a differently rewarding festival experience.

And as this is National Poetry Day, we'd like to offer you a poem. Here is one we came across recently, by a Latvian poet Knuts Skujenieks. This link is to the Lyrikline website, where you can find this and many more poems to read and listen to.

A Word Without a Word, by Knuts Skujenieks, translated by Margita Gailītis

Happy National Poetry Day!