The StAnza Renga

Friday 29 January 2021, 17:21

StAnza is thrilled to be pairing up with the Dundee Renga to create a collaborative poem in the run-up to StAnza 2021.

The StAnza Renga will be a chain poem compiled over the magic that is email from 8 – 28 February. There’s space for up to 30 writers to take part and places will be granted on a first come, first serve basis. We’ll be creating the poem according to the principles of the Japanese renga.

(We’re just using the wiki definition as our model. We’re not too strict about counting syllables, but if you want to go so then of course go ahead! We’ll be sharing information and resources about the form of the renga on StAnza’s social media throughout February.)

Wondering how it works? Bill Herbert, poet and the brains behind the Dundee Renga, will email an initial three-line poem (hokku) out to the group at the start of each month, and participants can respond over the course of the day with a two-line poem which bounces off this initial three lines in some way.

Bill will then pick a poem out of those he’s received and circulate that, asking for a three-liner by the following evening – and so on, alternating three lines with two throughout. This sort of renga (nijūin) is usually twenty verses long, and we’re aim to do one verse a day over the twenty-day period. Don’t worry, you don’t have to send something every day if nothing strikes you for that day.

We’ll be sharing the Renga online at intervals as it grows, and the final poem will be published on StAnza’s website for the duration of the festival as well as on the Dundee Renga website.

Interested in taking part? Get in touch at!

Categories: News

Time to be creative!

Sunday 24 January 2021, 19:18

Looking for some prompts for creativity?  Here you'll find not one, not two but three suggestions! Find out more about (1) Resolve to Make it New, (2) The Art of Energy and (3) Windows on poetry. 

Firstly, this year, Fife Contemporary’s collaboration with StAnza Poetry Festival 2021 is an online exhibition (Resolve to Make it New), and we’re looking for your participation! If you’ve spent some of the weeks and months of lockdown (any of them!) mending something that you thought was past saving, or writing down your thoughts about how you’ve come to realise the importance of ‘making new’, please email Fife Contemporary (

• a poem of up to 20 lines, OR

• up to 3 images of your renewed object with up to 100 words of description

Please put Make it New in the subject line of your email.

StAnza Poetry Festival 2021 runs from 6-14 March 2021, but Resolve to Make it New has just gone live now, and will remain on the website after the end of the festival. Please send in your poem or images/text as soon as you can! Fife Contemporary will continue to add them to the website until the festival begins.

Next, Energy Ethics are inviting submissions by 10 February for their event The Art of Energy | Energy Ethics on the following theme:

“How would you artistically conceptualise our current energy predicament where we need to balance energy demand with concern about human-driven climate change? How can we make sense of the entanglement of life with energy in the past, present and future?”

They are seeking art submissions of the following types/categories, and are offering cash awards for the top three finalists (£1,000, £250, £150) across categories:

  • Visual (photography, printmaking, drawing, painting, mixed media; maximum 5 images)
  • Short Film & Media (video, filmmaking, performance, maximum 5 minutes in length)
  • Sound Art (maximum 5 minutes in length)
  • Spoken word, poems, written submissions and short essays (Maximum 800 words)

You can find more information at Art of Energy | Energy Ethics and the deadline for submissions is 10 February 2021 at 23:59 (GMT), and good luck to all those who submit.

And if that’s not for you, how about writing a lockdown window view poem? For our WindowSwap project at StAnza we’ve commissioned 12 poets from around the world to swap views from their window and write about the view they’re sent. Our project was inspired by the wonderful online app, WindowSwap ( At a time when around the world so many of us are in lockdown, we’re mostly experiencing the non-virtual world through the views from our windows, and how wonderful that the Window Swap app allows us to enjoy the views from so many other windows.

If any of the views you see – from your own window, from one of the window views on the Window Swap app, or even perhaps from the window view sent to you by a friend – inspire you to write a poem, we’d love to see it. If you’d like to share it with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, please use the hashtag #windowswap2021, and you can tag us at @StAnzaPoetry (Twitter), stanzapoetry (Instagram) or stanzapoetry (Facebook).

Happy writing!

Categories: News

Make it New for 2021!

Saturday 16 January 2021, 17:03

StAnza 2021 imageToday we’d like to give a shout out about some exciting things which will be new for StAnza 2021 - and yes, there’s quite a lot of new stuff. We’ve been keen to ensure that, as well as finding online ways to platform as many as possible of our regular StAnza events at our online festival in March, we also seize the opportunities of an online festival to offer new ways of experiencing poetry – and also to offer poetry offline at a distance.

First up there’s our Poets at Home events, in which we’re taking advantage of the fact that everyone’s filming from home to ask poets to introduce us to their writing process and setup, with Malika Booker, Sasha Dugdale, Ella Frears, Caroline Bird and Will Harris.

Also new for 2021 we’re bringing you poetry to listen to at bedtime with Between the Covers. Unwind at the end of the festival day with audio from Rachel Long, Larry Butler and Sheila Templeton.

We’re thrilled to be teaming up with some of our favourite podcasts for a new take on our Past & Present events for 2021, working with the Dead Ladies Show, FreeVers(e) and New Caribbean Voices from Peepal Press to learn about a range of poets who continue to inspire.

In another new partnership this year, we’ll have a children’s poetry trail created by beloved children’s author Jane Yolen at St Andrews Botanic Gardens. If covid regulations permit in March, for St Andrews locals this will be in the gardens, but we’ll also have an online version.

Watch out for news on Dial-A-Poem, which we will launch soon, then call up our poetry hotline to hear our poem of the week in the run-up to the festival – and if you’re lucky during StAnza 2021, you’ll get a personal reading from one of our operators, Catherine Wilson and Katie Hale.

Have you ever coveted the poetry window stickers to be seen throughout St Andrews over StAnza? This year for our Poetry Windows installation we’ll be making small self-stick window poems, so that you can adorn your favourite window with a poem for a while – they are self-cling and easy to remove.

We will also have Postcards to Poetry on postcards which we’d be happy to post to you, or to someone you nominate. The window stickers and postcards will be subject to supplies so if you’d one of either, be sure to email in quick. We’ll share more information about that in February.

Windows, or rather views from them, were also the inspiration for our project WindowSwap. Inspired by the online project of the same name, we invited twelve poets around the world to send us a photograph of the view from their window, and commissioned them to write a poem responding to the view from another poet’s window which we sent to them. The results have started to trickle in and are brightening our days here. We hope they’ll do the same for you in March.

Last but not least, we’re really excited about the poetry games we’ve commissioned for StAnza 2021 – from Calum Roger and Hannah Raymond-Cox. Check them out for a poetry tour of St Andrews, or to explore the parallels between poetry and retro-style video games.

Watch out for more news about a more traditional Past & Present session, plus this years readings, annual StAnza lecture and our Poetry Cafe sessions, and all our digital installations.

Categories: News

Dig It! – StAnza 2021 Creative Writing Opportunity

Tuesday 12 January 2021, 11:33

Dig It StAnza creative writing op imageWe are delighted to be partnering Dig It! in this great paid commission opportunity for a poet based in Scotland.  This is a call out for applications by 21 January. Read on for more information, including on the payment offered.

Dig It! is a hub for Scottish archaeology with a Scotland-wide network of heritage organisations, museums and archaeological groups who are looking for looking for a Scotland-based poet to produce a short poem inspired by an archaeological site or artefact in Scotland (from a list they will provide) and to create an mp3 recording of them reciting the poem.

The poem will be writteto coincide with StAnza 2021, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival which takes place from 6 – 14 March, and will reflect one or both of our festival’s themes; Make It New’ and ‘No Rhyme nor Reason’.

They welcome applications from poets working in any language, including but not limited to Scots, Gaelic, and English, as long as an English translation is also provided by the  commissioned poet.

The successful applicant will work remotely with Dig It! (a small team based in Edinburgh) and one of the archaeologists who worked on one of their sites. They will provide the details to help you bring the story to life (such as imagesdescriptions and historical details). Dig It! are keen to develop the piece in partnership with the commissioned poet and follow their creative lead as they bring a fresh approach to how the past is depicted. 

Dig It! particularly encourage applications from Asian writers, LGBTQIA+ writers, non-binary writersdisabled writersBlack writers and writers from the African and/or Afro-Caribbean diaspora (including mixed-race/multiple-heritage) who are based in Scotland. Marginalised communities have often been excluded from recreations of the past and Dig It! want to showcase different perspectives on Scottish archaeology.

No prior knowledge is required. Dig It! are interested in a creative response to the materials they will  provide. An interest in archaeology is welcome but not essential.

The full payment offered is £250 (including VAT) and the application deadline is 12 noon on Thursday 21 January 2021. More details and application information can be found here: StAnza 2021 – Creative Writing Brief

Categories: News

Inspired by Nansen

Friday 8 January 2021, 12:40

Life may be in lockdown once again, but we have just the thing to distract and delight you for the coming days! You may remember back in July when we announced a “call for creativity” with the Museums of the University of St Andrews, when we invited submissions of poems inspired by Nansen’s lithograph of a polar bear. There was a wonderful response to this by 28 poets, and we commissioned Juana Adcock to read and offer individual comment on each of the poems, which was provided by Juana as short videos and audio files.

Our partners at the university were so impressed by the poems submitted that they proposed collecting them in an e-anthology, and we have been working with them on that over the last few months. This has now been finalised and can be viewed online at this link:

Environmental and other concerns prompted by the Nansen Lithograph are addressed in the poems in diverse and often surprising ways by many of the poets, while others were prompted to recollect past experiences. The poets featured in the book are:

Sue Wallace-Shaddad
Steve Smart
Maryanne Hartness
Alice Tarbuck
Gordon Meade
A. C. Clarke
Angela Blacklock-Brown
Johan Sandberg McGuinne
Stephanie Green
William Cowan
Jon Miller
Suzanne Spencer
Camila Contreras
George Colkitto
Michael Greavy
Jane Lovell
Alan Gay
Alun Robert
Chris Brickley
Sarah Davies
Garry Stanton
Lynn Valentine
Jonathan Carr
Finola Scott
Kieron Baird
Aileen Ballantyne
J Sutherland
Thomas Liney

We hope this book will keep your heart warm over the winter months as the weather reminds us of the blizzards and challenges Nansen faced on his expeditions!

Categories: News

Best wishes from StAnza for 2021

Sunday 3 January 2021, 11:50

StAnza 2021 image

(c) St Andrews Preservation Trust

Good morning, and my very best wishes for 2021. I hope it proves kinder to us all than the year just past. January has opened here with several days of sunshine, which has been encouraging, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the same wherever you are.  As we begin this new year in these difficult times, I thank each and every one of you for your continued interest and support in StAnza which is always encouraging and very welcome.
This is not my usual January email about our festival tickets going on sale. Most of StAnza 2021 – and given how things are at present, quite possibly all of StAnza 2021 – will take place online. All the online exhibitions, installations, games, films and digital and sound installations will be free and un-ticketed, as will many events, and the good news is that you will not need to book tickets for these, just make sure you put them in your diary and ‘turn up’ at during the festival. I hope you  find plenty to look forward to in our programme for March. We are offering events on a pay-what-you-can basis
and you should find it easy to make a payment on our website, or by clicking on the link below.
Donate to StAnzaTickets for Zoom Workshops and Round Table events, our only paid/ticketed events for 2021, as well as tickets for other Zoom events will be available early in February, and of course I’ll let you know in plenty of time to book these.
We have provisionally programmed a few in-person outdoor events, and a few actual exhibitions, and have hoped additionally to be able to stream lots of the free online events to small and socially distanced live audiences in our usual hub venue at the Byre Theatre. Of course this all
depend on Covid-19 regulations and it's not possible to know how things will be in March. Accordingly tickets for these in-person and outdoor events and exhibitions will only be available later in February when it’s clearer whether it will be possible for these to take place. However, almost all of them will also have an online version, ensuring you can enjoy them virtually in any event.
You can find more information about ticket sales online at
Meantime, even though ticket sales are postponed one other important deadline will come round much sooner this year, in only a few weeks’ time, and that’s for submissions to this year’s Masterclass led by Colette Bryce.
The Masterclass submission deadline this year is 20 January. This is to allow a Zoom session to take place in mid-February with Colette Bryce and those whose poems have been chosen, at which she will comment on the poems in a virtual ‘round table’ discussion with the selected poets.  This discussion will be recorded and screened free online during the festival on Sunday 7 March, followed immediately by a live Zoom public discussion.
You can find all the information you need about how to submit online here at the 2021 Masterclass listing page.

Categories: News