Opening Night: Sea Threads and the Inklight Showcase

Thursday 3 March 2016

Christine De Luca

Christine De Luca. Photo: Dawn Marie Jones

Vikings, mermaids and lost seamen. These were just some of the mythic and historical figures we encountered in Sea Threads/Sea Treeds, a dynamic blend of music and verse on the opening night of StAnza. Edinburgh’s Makar Christine De Luca read poems in English and Shetlandic, written by herself and Alex Cluness, and jazz musician Tommy Smith, and his band Karma, provided a musical response. Alternating between poems and music, we were transported from the Byre Theatre auditorium to a place of swelling sea waves and calling birds. Each poem in some way referenced the sea and movement and, like the sea itself, the music was sometimes crashing and powerful, sometimes subdued. As De Luca read, a gentle pattering on the cymbals behind her recreated a steady, seaside wind.

The music didn’t stop as we left the Byre Auditorium and were met with St Leonards Folk Band already playing in the Café Bar. After grabbing a pint and grooving to their lively tunes, it was time for the Inklight Showcase, where University of St Andrews’ undergraduate creative writing society brought us a selection of new student writers. I felt a pang of nostalgia, as I used to run this Showcase and this society back when I was still a St Andrews undergrad! St Andrews student Samantha Evans was an exuberant and welcoming host. A highlight of the showcase for me was student Alexandra Julienne’s haunting poetry, which explored what happens when language breaks down, or disappears.Inklight Logo

StAnza is a place where you can see not only poets you already love, but discover new writers and artists you’ve never encountered before. A place where verse and music intermingle and shape each other. I’m looking forward to discovering more writers and seeing more creative collaborations as the festival unfolds this year.

Happy World Book Day everyone and happy start of StAnza 2016! Be on the lookout for more blogs from me throughout the festival and be sure to follow StAnza on Twitter and chat with us through the hashtag: #StAnza16. 

By Carly Brown, In-House Blogger for StAnza 2016