DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: Rendang

Sunday 14 February 2021, 18:34

Will Harris’ debut collection explores a range of issues many of which circle around belonging and ancestry, of finding a voice to bridge the faultlines of cultural and personal identity (Harris has Chinese-Indonesian-British ancestry).  It opens with rootlessness but Harris’ distinctive response is to pose the challenge of such fractures as one of poetics. Reassemblage, pursued initially through Derek Walcott’s broken pottery metaphor is posed as a question, not an answer: ‘That can’t be taken; granted’ (‘State-Building’), the semi-colon positioned between words holds different reading possibilities.... The collection as a whole shuttles between real and imagined states, between locations (Indonesia, Turkey, Illionois, London among others), and betwixt high and popular in a way that disrupts conventionalised hierarchies; in traversing ruptures, Harris shows a striking ability to ‘complex stitch’ tableaux, situations, textual fragments and allusions seamlessly.... 

This is an excerpt of a review on the DURA website by Gail Low of Will Harris' Rendang. For more information on Harris at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

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DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: Pretty in Pink

Sunday 14 February 2021, 18:22

Ruth Aylett’s first solo pamphlet exemplifies just what thematic poetry collections make possible. Pretty in Pink examines facets of girl and womanhood, and the pressures to conform to, internalise and perform ideals of femininity, through different lenses of time, geography, class and culture. The collection itself provides a container for twenty-nine poems, fragments of lives and experiences, which resonate with one another, evoking the entrenched nature of patriarchal oppression but also offering glimpses of resistance and hope for the future. Highly political as well as personal then, these poems are also deftly lyrical and imaginative....

This is an excerpt of a review on the DURA website by Lindsay Macgregor of Ruth Aylett's Pretty in Pink. For more information on Aylett at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

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DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: The M Pages

Friday 12 February 2021, 18:26

If you want to discover what lies behind the mysterious title of Colette Bryce’s eighth collection, it is unlikely that the cover will tell you. Nor will the opening poems, which lead up to the book’s searing long poem heartland. However, when you reach that section you will want to retrace to collect the clues, which were not always obvious, but invariably were present. That seems entirely true to the pattern of how we react, how we grieve and how we try to unpick reasons when we attempt to comprehend the sudden death of someone close. The loss of the never-named ‘M’ is on every page.Whilst there is no dedication, a dedication is embedded nonetheless....

This is an excerpt of a review on the DURA website by Beth McDonough of Colette Bryce's The M Pages. For more information on Bryce at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

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DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: Deformations

Friday 12 February 2021, 16:57

Poet, and significantly translator, Sasha Dugdale’s fourth collection, Deformations, takes two important, and apparently diverse series, which are linked and book-ended by less overtly connected poems. Reading as the poet has ordered makes an intriguing journey, but some of the real bonding is to be found in the overlapping of the poems traversing the two major sections. They suggest a great deal of how Dugdale has not only uncovered aspects of the central characters but also the nature of attempting to shed their influences. In ‘Eternal Feminine’, she says of the Downs (and much more) ‘Their backs wear thin like wedding velvet/worn at a funeral[.].’ Deformations’ cover describes the ‘preoccupation with biographical and mythical narrative’ and ‘how trauma is disguised and deformed through myth and art.’

This is an excerpt of a review on the DURA website by Beth McDonough of Sasha Dugdale's TS Eliot Prize shortlisted Deformations. For more information on Dugdale at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

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Book Group, Brochure and Box Office Update

Sunday 7 February 2021, 11:33

The StAnza pre-festival Book Group sessions are about to start. Normally we hold these in-person in St Andrews around a table. This year we’ll have them online on Zoom; three sessions, one a week over the next three weeks at which we’ll read and discuss poems by some of this year’s festival poets whom we're looking forward to hearing at StAnza in March. To ensure that the book group sessions allow for participation, we’ll be limiting the numbers who can attend but if you’d like to attend, please email with “Book Group” in the subject line of your email, and we’ll let you know if you’ve secured a place.
The first session will be held on Tuesday 9 February from 2.30pm until about 3.30pm, and we’ll fix the date/time of the following sessions to best suit those taking part.
We’re not planning much print publicity this year because there isn’t the same opportunity to distribute this and our focus has been on digital promotion. However, a folding print brochure will be ready later this month. We plan to post this out to people on our postal mailing list and, subject to supplies and capacity, anyone else who wants one. If you are already on our postal mailing list (ie if you received a brochure from us by post last year) then you should receive one of these from us before the festival. If you are not already on our list and would like a copy of the brochure posted out to you, please email with “Brochure” in the subject line of your message, and giving your full name and postal address. (It would be helpful if you could also indicate if you'd like to remain on our postal mailing list for future festivals.)

In other cheering news the gallery for Resolve to Make it New, our collaboration with Fife Contemporary, is growing by the day with lots of wonderful imagies and poems. Do check it out here, and if you haven't done so yet, you might like to send them something of your own?

Finally, a quick reminder about Robert Crawford’s book launch next Thursday, 11 February at 7pm, for Curriculum Violette. If you’d like to attend, please register with 

And of course the StAnza box office is now open; if you want to book a ticket for one of the free/ticketed live Zoom events, go to

However, you don’t need tickets for other events at this year’s festival - such as the Poetry Centre Stage readings - and they are free to access on our website in March. Please also note that only the smaller number of live events which are ticketed appear on the Byre Theatre What’s On box office page; you will find all the other events on our website at

Categories: News

StAnza Box Office Opens on Tuesday 2 February!

Sunday 31 January 2021, 14:13

The StAnza Box Office opens on Tuesday 2 February when tickets for our Workshops and Round Table readings will be for sale. You can also book tickets for our formal live Zoom events from Tuesday.

The other events at StAnza 2021, and all of the exhibitions, installations, games, etc., are free to access online; you'll just need to go to the StAnza website to view them. Apart from the Workshops and Round Table readings, everything at this year's festival is offered without charge to ensure it's available to everyone who is online, though we hope if you are able to you will consider paying what you can on a voluntary basis. (Anyone who doesn't have a regular internet connection can still get some poetry
from StAnza by post or phone.)

You will get full information on how to book tickets on the StAnza Booking Page >>

As well as the formal live events on Zoom, the StAnza online festival cafe will be open on Zoom every day from Monday 8 to Sunday 14 March as a place to catch up with old friends online and chat, and to make new friends, but you won't need to book for these, you'll be able to just drop in during the festival cafe opening hours. (We'll let you know how to do that nearer the time.) We will be trying hard to channel the usual atmosphere of the Byre cafe, as well as Zest and other favourite cafes, coffee shops, pubs and restaurants around town. And we hope very much that some of this year's poets will come along to some of the festival cafe sessions.

On Monday 8 and Wednesday 10 March the festival cafe will be open on Zoom in the morning from 11:00 - 11:30 so why not join us for a morning coffee (bring your own coffee); on Tuesday 9, Thursday 11 and Saturday 13 March, it will be open in the evening from 20:30 - 21:00; on Friday 12 March we'll have a breakout room at the Risk a Verse Open Mic event, if you'd like a break from the poetry to chat; and of course we'll have breakout rooms where people can meet to chat at the opening night party on 6 March, and at the Festival Finale on 14 March.

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