Be inspired at StAnza's festival workshops and classes

Saturday 7 January 2012, 18:29

StAnza’s educational theme, Poetry by Degrees, has given us the chance to expand on opportunities for creative practice. The festival programme is packed with workshops, inspirational sessions and opportunities for both new and experienced poets to develop their work. The festival’s other main theme, The Image, will provide the impetus for both these practical events and for talks and discussions centred on the craft and the study of poetry. The theme is also part of the celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the University of St Andrews. Lavinia Greenlaw will be leading an all-day workshop at Balmungo House.

Kwame Dawes (pictured) and John Glenday will be leading workshops respectively on poetic language and imagery. Glenday is a tutor at Moniack Mhor, the Scottish base of the Arvon Foundation, which is forming an outpost at StAnza 2012. Dawes is connected to the creative writing programme at the University of South Carolina. David Morley, founder of the University of Warwick writing programme, will be leading the StAnza Masterclass, which offers selected poets the chance to have their work discussed. Jo Bell, Director of National Poetry Day, will be heading a workshop on the power of using the negative.

To kick start the writing process, there are daily Inspire sessions at the Byre Theatre and lunchtime ‘Musings at MUSA’: a series of sessions at the Museum of the University of St Andrews, where writers are asked to respond to a treasure trove of artefacts from astrolabes to kaleidoscopes, all associated with the university. Both these events are free and participants are encouraged to submit copies of any resulting work for future display.

All this plus a range of chances to perform your work at open mics, the StAnza slam and music nights.

Find out more about these interactive events here. Tickets for StAnza go on sale next week, 11 January.

Photo of Kwame Dawes by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

StAnza is part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012.

Categories: News

Poets win major Costa prizes

Wednesday 4 January 2012, 12:25

Congratulations to Carol Ann Duffy for winning the Costa Prize for Poetry with her new collection, The Bees, the first published since she became Poet Laureate. StAnza goers will recall her outstanding readings - which were sell-outs - at the festival in 2009. 

And congratulations to Matthew Hollis, whose acclaimed biography of Edward Thomas won the Costa Prize for Biography. Two poets have won prizes, but four have been honoured in a sense, if you include Thomas and the American poet Robert Frost, who also appears in the book.

Matthew will be at StAnza in March, in conversation with Scotsman columnist Joyce McMillan about Edward Thomas, Frost and their important literary friendship. Tickets for StAnza go on sale 11 January.

Photo of Matthew Hollis by Claire McNamee.

Categories: News

StAnza 2012 focuses on The Image

Tuesday 3 January 2012, 15:30

StAnza’s theme, The Image  has inspired a series of unmissable events, exploring poetry’s relationship with the visual arts, film, tv, and photography. Here are just some of the highlights:

Lavinia Greenlaw, the festival’s Poet-in-Residence, will be leading an all-day workshop, ‘Linked Forms’ at Balmungo House, formerly the home of artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. Participants will draw inspiration from the house itself in its beautiful Fife setting and the artist’s works displayed there.

St Andrews has strong links with the history of photography and this will be reflected in several ways at StAnza. Simonides: Body Bags, is a collaboration between poet Robert Crawford and photographer Norman McBeath, juxtaposing images and Scots versions of ancient Greek poems about war. Photographs by StAnza’s Photographer-in-Residence in 2011, Dan Phillips will present a visual record of the poet in performance. More about photographic and art exhibitions here. Photographs are also at the heart of ‘Whistle’, Martin Figuera’s harrowing yet humorous account of his tragic childhood, evoked through family snaps and memorabilia.

StAnza has featured poetry films since 2007 and this year has expanded this strand to include to three major events. Psycho Poetica matches original poems and music, with scenes from Hitchcock’s classic. Alastair Cook’s Filmpoem live uses sound and vision to create a new art form: poetry readings and music accompany haunting, beautiful images. Split-Screen, a new anthology of poems inspired by TV programmes and films, which will be launched at StAnza, is a celebration of ways in which poetry has connected with the visual off and on the page. Find out more about these events here.

There also talks, workshops and readings devoted to the theme. Check our website for more details. Tickets go on sale 11 January.

Categories: News

Make plans for StAnza 2012: programme now online

Thursday 22 December 2011, 14:42

The Dave Batchelor Quintet will be celebrating jazz and Larkin

With the Christmas and Hogmanay offering  us all the chance for a well-earned break, when better than to browse through the StAnza 2012 events programme? It's now available online here

As well as the list of events already confirmed (and watch out for extra ones to be announced shortly), you can find out more about the poets, writers, artists, film makers and musicians who are taking part.  To whet your appetite, we have provided some biogs, sample poems, links and clips.

Headlining poets include Jackie Kay (pictured), Kathleen Jamie, Christopher Reid, Lavinia Greenlaw, Joe Dunthorne and Michael Symmons Roberts; from the USA, Chase Twichell and Kwame Dawes, plus international voices from Germany, South Africa, Poland, Macedonia and Sweden.

Meet Jackie Kay at StAnza 2012

The festival's themes are The Image and Poetry by Degrees. Expect a wide range of events - exhibitions, a book launch and breakfast discussions - linking poetry with visual art and photography, TV and film. Check out StAnza's celebration of poetry in education with an expanded range of workshops, inspire sessions and discussions.

Lively performances, drama and music are also a key aspect of the festival. Highlights include Karen Dunbar's hilarious A Drunk Woman Looks at a Thistle and Kind of Larkin, a tribute to Philip Larkin's love of jazz with the Dave Batchelor Quintet (pictured) - whose line-up, please notice, includes poet/musician Don Paterson.

Tickets will be on sale in January, so enjoy savouring the prospect of what's to come.

Categories: News

Book Group for StAnza 2012

Thursday 15 December 2011, 06:51

Ever wished you had a chance to read and discuss poetry before you hear the poet read? If so, read on. Every March StAnza’s spring festival brings a wide range of poetry to St Andrews, presenting poets past and present from around the world. In 2012 as a collaboration between StAnza and the Open Association at the University of St Andrews, a new Book Group will meet before the festival to read and discuss some of the poets who will feature at StAnza 2012, including Michael Symmons Roberts and Kathleen Jamie.

Robert Crawford, one of Scotland’s leading poets and currently Professor of Modern Scottish Literature, and PhD students from the School of English at the University will lead three early evening sessions from 5.30pm-7.30pm on Wednesdays 1st, 15th and 29th February in the Conference Room at St Katherine’s West at 16 The Scores, St Andrews KY16 9AX. For more details contact Ruth Harris or Debbie Wilbraham on 01333 462275 or

Categories: News

Robert Crawford on Simonides and Body Bags: this Sunday on BBC Radio 4

Thursday 24 November 2011, 13:58

Robert Crawford

Earlier this year at the festival, the poet Robert Crawford gave the StAnza Lecture on Simonides and the War on Terror: an insightful and closely argued discussion which connected the ancient Greek poet with modern warfare. In a key image, he compared the poetry of Simonides, which has come to us in fragments, to the body bag, making connections between ancient and modern attitudes to memorialising the casualties of war.

Following on from this, StAnza 2012 will be featuring an exhibition of poetry and images by Robert Crawford and photographer Norman McBeath from their book Simonides. You can find out more about that when the festival events programme goes online on 30 November at

Meantime they have now made a programme about Simonides, to be broadcast this Sunday (27th) at 4.30pm on BBC Radio 4. It will be available afterwards on iPlayer, if you don't get the chance to tune in. There's more about the broadcast here.

Categories: News
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