The Cyber Slam on Saturday was followed by Fife’s Risk-a-Verse Open Mic, which included live and Skyped contributions from poets, most either living in Fife or with Fife connections. Like the Cyber Slam, the Open Mic was webcast and the afternoon was studded with poetic gems. The poets taking part were: Andrew Ferguson (pictured above, who appeared via Skype), Etta Dunn, Andy Jackson, Lyn Moir, Colin Will, Anne Connolly, Milton Balgoni, Eddie Gibbons, Iain Gray, Anna Stewart, Brian Johnstone, Ali ‘Harlequinade’ Maloney, Robin Cairns, Eleanor Livingstone, Kevin Cadwallander.
The return of some of the Cyber Slammers to the mic rounded off a highly successful afternoon, proof of what a digital celebration of poetry offers.
The stakes were high, but StAnza won yesterday’s brilliant Poetry Cyber Slam. Click here to see the results. The team comprised Milton Balgoni as MC, Robin Cairns, Claudia Daventry, Ali ‘Harlequinade’ Maloney and Kevin Cadwallender. The team from Melbourne’s Overload Poetry Festival was led by Santo Cazzati as MC, with Ezra Bix, Benjamin IQ Sanders, and two poets, Graham and Andrea, who had come through during earlier heats in Melbourne.
Melbourne's Ezra Bix performs.
Round one gave the poets a chance to show off their best work and Kevin Cadwallender’s ‘Dalek’ poem (with Dalek impersonation) went down a storm with the Melbourne and St Andrews audiences. Round two was themed around respective countries, making for some great jokes about stereotypes, and round three was a team effort, providing the poets with a new challenge.
While Scotland and Australia are used to competing on the rugby field, the prospect of a Skype Slam between poets from both nations opened up all sorts of exciting possibilities, not least being able to webcast vibrant live poetry to a world audience. We are waiting for the confirmed numbers of those who followed the event online but they look to be healthy. Comments made via Twitter praised the quality of the webcast and of the poetry performed.
Sticking to that sporting theme, now that StAnza (and Scotland) have taken poetry’s equivalent of the Ashes, a rematch could well be in the offing…
Calling Fife poets: come along and Risk a Verse in StAnza’s first digital open mic! Straight after our epic StAnza v. Melbourne slam this Saturday, 11 September, hosted by Fife poet Milton Balgoni (right), at the Byre Theatre, we are holding another innovative event, giving local talented poets the chance to showcase their work to a live audience and worldwide via Skype.
Part of Fife's Year of Culture, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Fife poets, wherever they are based, who'd like to Skype in a contribution should get in touch, too, via firstname.lastname@example.org. Distance is no barrier whether you want to take part or to cheer the performers along. For more details, click here.
Hard to believe, but there's just a week to go until the StAnza Cyber Slam, our latest digital event and, after months of planning, the final arrangements have been made.
On 11 September, our team of top performance poets will be pitting their wits against their counterparts at the Overload Poetry Festival in Melbourne, Australia. It will be a fast and furious poetry slam performed live and via Skype.
The StAnza Cyber Slam takes place between midday and 1.15pm (BST) at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews, and simultaneously at Overload in Melbourne (9pm-10.15pm in Australia). The teams will be cheered on by audiences at their respective venues and the performances webcast, so viewers from round the world can follow the action online.
StAnza's line up will be familiar to festival goers and performance fans: Milton Balgoni as MC, Kevin Cadwallendar, Robin Cairns, Claudia Daventry, and Alasdair Maloney (of the Chemical Poets). They've all been sharpening their skills at the festivals in Edinburgh and elsewhere this summer, so expect some verbal fireworks.
Melbourne's team includes two award-winning international slammers: Ezra Biz and Benjamin 'IQ' Sanders. We'll be joining them on the opening night of the Overload Poetry Festival, which has a history of holding innovative digital events. So it's great to have the chance to link up with them.
If you can't make it to the venue to cheer the teams, you can follow the slam live online at www.stanzapoetry.org
StAnza poet Claudia Daventry is on the Cyber Slam team
Edwin Morgan's funeral took place on Thursday in the grand setting of Glasgow University's Bute Hall. The large gathering of writers, politicians and people who loved the poet or his poetry heard readings of some of his best known works as well as formal tributes and less formal fond rememberings from some of those who knew him best. The music ranged from Classical to Jazz to the Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever - and we all joined the university choir to sing the last verse of A Man's a Man For a' That. Then there was Glenmorangie or tea with shortbread - a fine send-off indeed. And on Monday, the Edinburgh International Book Festival will finish with an Edwin Morgan Celebration event. This event is free but ticketed, and apparently now sold out.
The apocalyptic sounding rain on the roof of the tent did nothing to spoil last Saturday evening’s Poets’ Showcase at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The city itself, past and present, was a feature of the poetry. StAnza’s former Festival Director Brian Johnstone, recalled the Morningside of the Sixties and – ironically – the running of the last tram. Edinburgh’s Makar Ron Butlin charted the recent transformation of the old tenements into ‘glass and mirror palaces’. They were joined on stage by two vibrant new voices. Rob MacKenzie combined a strong sense of the absurd with subtle observations of Edinburgh street life in ‘White Noise’ and a sardonic, tourists’ coach-bound view in ‘Scotlands’. Jane McKie took us back to the country and the mysteries of the natural world, including farms, fighting hares and – something for the arachnophobes in the audience – the anatomy of spiders. All in all, a varied and evocative evening.