Book Group, Brochure and Box Office Update

Sunday 7 February 2021, 11:33

The StAnza pre-festival Book Group sessions are about to start. Normally we hold these in-person in St Andrews around a table. This year we’ll have them online on Zoom; three sessions, one a week over the next three weeks at which we’ll read and discuss poems by some of this year’s festival poets whom we're looking forward to hearing at StAnza in March. To ensure that the book group sessions allow for participation, we’ll be limiting the numbers who can attend but if you’d like to attend, please email with “Book Group” in the subject line of your email, and we’ll let you know if you’ve secured a place.
The first session will be held on Tuesday 9 February from 2.30pm until about 3.30pm, and we’ll fix the date/time of the following sessions to best suit those taking part.
We’re not planning much print publicity this year because there isn’t the same opportunity to distribute this and our focus has been on digital promotion. However, a folding print brochure will be ready later this month. We plan to post this out to people on our postal mailing list and, subject to supplies and capacity, anyone else who wants one. If you are already on our postal mailing list (ie if you received a brochure from us by post last year) then you should receive one of these from us before the festival. If you are not already on our list and would like a copy of the brochure posted out to you, please email with “Brochure” in the subject line of your message, and giving your full name and postal address. (It would be helpful if you could also indicate if you'd like to remain on our postal mailing list for future festivals.)

In other cheering news the gallery for Resolve to Make it New, our collaboration with Fife Contemporary, is growing by the day with lots of wonderful imagies and poems. Do check it out here, and if you haven't done so yet, you might like to send them something of your own?

Finally, a quick reminder about Robert Crawford’s book launch next Thursday, 11 February at 7pm, for Curriculum Violette. If you’d like to attend, please register with 

And of course the StAnza box office is now open; if you want to book a ticket for one of the free/ticketed live Zoom events, go to

However, you don’t need tickets for other events at this year’s festival - such as the Poetry Centre Stage readings - and they are free to access on our website in March. Please also note that only the smaller number of live events which are ticketed appear on the Byre Theatre What’s On box office page; you will find all the other events on our website at

Categories: News

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 375

Monday 1 February 2021, 15:16

Dalwhinnie - Dail Chuinnidh

Leaving Dalwhinnie station,
I notice the view.
It has run out of trees.
The earth has run out of grass.
The soil (like me) has run out of a reason to stay.

Outside, the clouds become too heavy
to contain themselves.
I trace a silver snail trail of raindrops
as it clings to the greasy window.

Inside, a trolley sells steaming comfort
to sustain the busy-being-busy.
Their mission is to keep in touch with the real world
(however far away they find themselves).

My ticket holds no clues.
Who would want to pause here
and hope if they changed direction
(in these mountains)
they would be heading to greener pastures?

Sarah Dolan

Note: Dalwhinnie was a meeting place of ancient cattle drovers’ routes through the mountains.

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

StAnza Box Office Opens on Tuesday 2 February!

Sunday 31 January 2021, 14:13

The StAnza Box Office opens on Tuesday 2 February when tickets for our Workshops and Round Table readings will be for sale. You can also book tickets for our formal live Zoom events from Tuesday.

The other events at StAnza 2021, and all of the exhibitions, installations, games, etc., are free to access online; you'll just need to go to the StAnza website to view them. Apart from the Workshops and Round Table readings, everything at this year's festival is offered without charge to ensure it's available to everyone who is online, though we hope if you are able to you will consider paying what you can on a voluntary basis. (Anyone who doesn't have a regular internet connection can still get some poetry
from StAnza by post or phone.)

You will get full information on how to book tickets on the StAnza Booking Page >>

As well as the formal live events on Zoom, the StAnza online festival cafe will be open on Zoom every day from Monday 8 to Sunday 14 March as a place to catch up with old friends online and chat, and to make new friends, but you won't need to book for these, you'll be able to just drop in during the festival cafe opening hours. (We'll let you know how to do that nearer the time.) We will be trying hard to channel the usual atmosphere of the Byre cafe, as well as Zest and other favourite cafes, coffee shops, pubs and restaurants around town. And we hope very much that some of this year's poets will come along to some of the festival cafe sessions.

On Monday 8 and Wednesday 10 March the festival cafe will be open on Zoom in the morning from 11:00 - 11:30 so why not join us for a morning coffee (bring your own coffee); on Tuesday 9, Thursday 11 and Saturday 13 March, it will be open in the evening from 20:30 - 21:00; on Friday 12 March we'll have a breakout room at the Risk a Verse Open Mic event, if you'd like a break from the poetry to chat; and of course we'll have breakout rooms where people can meet to chat at the opening night party on 6 March, and at the Festival Finale on 14 March.

Categories: News

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 374

Saturday 30 January 2021, 12:41


We arrived in Shortlees in two thousand and eight
It was easy to get there
Not long to wait.
We lived next to this old bloke,
He was quite a character.

Caprington Avenue is very straight.
The Ayr Road at one end
Central Avenue at the other.
If you don’t slow down for the roundabouts
You’ll land yourself in bother.

The local ‘Community Centre’
is attached to the primary school.
As far as the community’s concerned,
it’s breaking all the rules!

It’s a big enough place when school is out
Of that there is no doubt
With rooms galore, and chairs, and stairs
And great big windows to look out
To watch anyone daft enough to go outside
On the field, in the rain
And kick a ball about...

Elaine Shade  

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 373

Friday 29 January 2021, 17:33

Anarchy in Arbroath

A commuter train pulls into Arbroath.
Doors open. Hordes spill onto the platform.
School uniforms are burnt or slit with Stanley
knives. Wallets, purses and laptops are fought
over. Hostages are strapped to refreshment
trolleys and raced around the waiting room.

Whoops and yelps echo through the concourse.
An acrid smell of Mace pervades the air.
Cells phone each other for status updates.

The Guard has been taken out and shot
with an Android for uploading to Facebook later.
The Ticket Inspector is chained to a toilet seat
and is refused a First Class upgrade.
Passengers in Coach C, the quiet carriage,
mime their distress at being robbed again.
The Buffet Car has been booby-trapped.
Small fires burn along the tracks. 

Train wheels turn one single revolution:
a straggler trundles slipshod through the station
and hoists his blood-red satchel like a flag.

A tannoy declares: The train now standing
at platform three is the 15.55 from Haymarket
Academy of Anarchy. Scotrail apologises for the lack
of Molotov Cocktails between Kirkaldy and Leuchars.
This was due to staff abductions. Before leaving
the train please make sure you have all your hand
grenades with you. Thank you.

Eddie Gibbons

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

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
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