Gillian Dawson of St Mungo's Mirrorball looks forward to some highlights at StAnza.
Our One Drives are prompting us to ‘Relive this Day’ in years past with photos of Jannetta’s ice cream cones held against blue skies, snowdrops and snow, and always the Byre, bookshops, streets, cafés packed with poets. Although we’ll miss the frisson of St Andrews this time, we’re looking forward to immersing ourselves, virtually, in StAnza 2021 on the banks of the Clyde.
St Mungo’s Mirrorball, the Glasgow network of poets and poetry lovers, have always had strong links with the festival as partners, participants and audience members and this year’s online programme is no different with an enticing line up of poets and poetry events, many featuring Mirrorball members. Here are our hot picks of the week to come:
A highlight of StAnza is the Risk a Verse open mic. This year’s open mic is a joint StAnza–St Mungo’s Mirrorball live webcast on Friday 12th March, 9-10pm which poet, writer, editor and Mirrorball member, Sam Tongue will MC on Zoom. Dust off a poem, limber up your lips and tongue and come along for the ride. The Festival Café will be also open as a separate social room if you want to chill out.
2020 marked the beginning of Mirrorball’s partnership with the Edwin Morgan Trust. The inaugural Scots Makar, a Glasgow-based poet with an international view, Edwin Morgan is close to our hearts and we were excited to launch Clydebuilt 13, the 13th year of our innovative verse apprenticeship scheme as part of the #EdwinMorgan100 celebrations. We’re sure you’ll be delighted as we are to find these Edwin Morgan events in this year’s StAnza programme:
- Past & Present: Edwin Morgan – Tuesday 9th, 6.30-7.15pm – A StAnza/Free Vers(e) podcast on queer poetry and history discussing all things Edwin Morgan: what’s not to love?
- Poetry Centre Stage: Mona Kareem, Michael Grieve – Friday 12th, 5-6pm – Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2020 shortlisted poet, Michael Grieve reads.
- Concrete Scotland – Saturday 6th–Wednesday 10th – A feast your eyes and synapses, this Digital Installation including examples of Edwin Morgan’s first concrete poetry.
If you’re looking for some top tips from some great poets, look no further than the Inspire Sessions, 12.00–12.10pm each day. We’ll have our notebooks at the ready for writing hints from these Mirrorballers:
- John Glenday – Monday 8th – Unmissable, encouragement and advice from an award-winning poet and mentor.
- Gerry Cambridge – Wednesday 10th – Poet and editor of The Dark Horse shares how favourite poets have influenced his writing.
- Mhairi Owens – Friday 12th – The first poet writing in Scots to win the main prize in the Wigtown Poetry Competition shares how making mayonnaise might help writing poetry… we’re intrigued!
- Shehzar Doja – Saturday 13th – Find your creative spark with prompts from poet and editor of The Luxembourg Review.
Between the Covers audio readings: if there’s a more relaxing way to untether from the stresses of the day and float away than listening to poetry, we can’t think of one. Two more Mirrorball members to help round off your day, thanks to StAnza:
- Larry Butler – Thursday 11th, 10-10.15pm – Unwind with playful poetry, hopeful poetry, contemplative poetry from teacher of tai chi, trainer of wellbeing practitioners and poet.
- Sheila Templeton – Friday 12th, 10-10.15pm – Four times winner of the James McCash Scots Language Competion, Sheila promises to read in her best bed-time-story voice: prepare to be soothed by her melodic poems in Scots and English.
One of the pleasures of StAnza is the Poetry Market, so many tempting books and pamphlets to take home to add to that teetering pile on your bedside table. It’s such a relief to see there will be a virtual Poetry Market on Sunday 14th, 2.30-3.15pm, a Breakout Room Zoom to browse and speak to publishers and stall holders, the chance of a serendipitous purchase which becomes a life-long favourite.
Like StAnza, St Mungo’s Mirrorball has gone digital. We continue to run monthly poetry Showcase events on Zoom which allows us to connect with poets and poetry lovers much further afield than was otherwise possible.