2018 Afterword

Photo: Nicky Davidson

Afterword 2018

“Coming to StAnza is always like coming home.” – Katie Hale

“The energy running through the streets around the Byre and the other sites was generated by a sense of human connection. It could be said that the StAnza 2018 theme of ‘borderlines and the self’ was being realised via a kind of collective activity, as well as through the programmed or green-flash transformations within and between languages and arts.” – Vahni Capildeo, PN Review

“At StAnza Festival the buzz is palpable from the moment you arrive.  It’s where you feel privileged to be on the programme and lucky to be in the audience.  The energy spills out onto the streets and into the cafes and bars. It sends you home, changed.” – Martin Figura

Looking out today onto our sun-drenched summer, it is hard to believe that just a few months ago, Vanessa Kisuule’s Joyriding the Storm seemed the most relevant of all the poetry collections at StAnza. It’s time to take a look back to the festival which (whisper it) almost wasn’t.

As February’s snow fell, and fell, and fell, Britain collectively held its breath to watch the woods fill up with snow. But here at StAnza, we had promises to keep. Contingency plans were dreamt up and deployed, when – with the festival ticking ever closer – training meetings had to be cancelled and deliveries delayed. So much kudos goes to our ever amazing volunteers, who went above and beyond to keep festival preparations going smoothly. Remarkably, the thaw began the week of the festival. Roads were cleared and trains started running just in time to make sure our first poets, as well as the festival team, arrived with time to spare.

We launched StAnza 2018 with a brand new event, our Festival Launch Extravaganza which offered a taster of the festival to come. It was such a joy to see how enthusiastically this was received, and the launch became a microcosm of the festival itself: a welcoming space for all kinds of poetry, from Catherine Wilson’s passionate spoken word to Lies Van Gasse’s remarkable illustrated “graphic poetry”. We heard poems in English, Gaelic, and (in our Going Dutch focus) Frisian and Dutch, and saw emerging voices like Will Harris sharing a stage with headliners Sinéad Morrissey and Michael Symmons Roberts.

Both of this year’s festival themes – Borderlines and The Self – explored how we see ourselves and others, and asked where and how we encounter and open up to those others. Encounters and dialogues permeated the festival: from Flemish poet Maud Vanhauwaert’s exuberant collaborative performance with Katie Hale, to the Byre Youth Theatre’s heartrending production of Catastrophe/Forms, a performance of WW1 poetry originally developed in Berlin and incorporating a number of different languages. Excitingly, some of the conversations which started at the festival are continuing beyond borders, with some of our Frisian and Scottish poets furthering their collaborations.

StAnza 2018 also held some remarkable moments which reminded us how poetry can open us up to be our most self, and least personal. Martin Figura’s powerful performance in Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine was one such moment. The warmth of our collective reading, from the anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and disabled poets write back, was another.

In a world which can seem increasingly fractured and isolated, seeing these performances spark conversations which wove their way through the festival (and beyond) was a joyful, necessary thing. As ever, StAnza 2018 became more than the sum of its parts not merely thanks to our talented poets and dedicated volunteers, but also thanks to our audience, whose generosity in opening up their selves to poetry, to dialogue and to others is always heart-warming, and astounding

StAnza 2018 : 7 - 11 March : Gallery

Photos of poets and others taking part in StAnza 2018 and some of our favourite venue or atmosphere shots of St Andrews

2018 Videos

PDF icon Videos from StAnza 2018.pdf

A lively video collage of short responses to StAnza

Poetry at the Pool - David Eyre and Luke Pell

Poetry at the Pool 2 with David Eyre 

Geart Tigchelaar reading at opening night event

Geart Tigchelaar reading at St Andrews Cathedral

Video taken on the StAnza Poetry Walk 

Short video about StAnza 2018 by Rebecca Monks

2018 Broadcasts and Podcasts

PDF icon Podcasts and Broadcasts from StAnza 2018.pdf

David Eyre on BBC radio talking in Gaelic about his collaboration with Geart Tigchelaar

Audio interview with Polly Atkin at StAnza

Audio interview with Gillian Allnutt at StAnza

Audio interview with Katie Hale at StAnza, published in The London Magazine

Audio interview with Sinead Morrissey at StAnza, published in The Scores

Audio interview with JL Williams at StAnza, published by the University of Durham

Audio interview with Will Harris at StAnza, published by the University of Durham

2018 Reviews and Interviews

PDF icon Articles and Blog Posts from StAnza 2018.pdf

Review of StAnza 2018 by Susan Mansfield in The Scotsman

Article by Vicky Husband

JL Williams workshop at MUSA

Article in The List about StAnza - how women poets are leading the way

Article by Literary Pixie

Article by Angela Topping


StAnza 2018 took place from 7-11 March, 2018

StAnza 2018 Brochure PDF

StAnza 2018 Brochure online >>

Festival themes

Our themes for StAnza 2018 were The Self and Borderlines.


12 – a collective writing project
Katie Ailes
Gillian Allnutt
Maria Apichella
Polly Atkin
Ruth Aylett
Jan Baeke
Hinemoana Baker
Jill Bennett
Victoria Bennett
Tara Bergin
Andrew Blair
Rachael Boast
John Bolland
Marie-Elsa Bragg
Pamela Breda
Brother Anthony of Taizé
Tsead Bruinja
Byre Youth Theatre
Cai Tianxin
Paul-Henri Campbell
Vahni Capildeo
Lyn Coffin
Anne Laure Coxam
Ian Crockatt
Lynn Davidson
Christine De Luca
Ash Dickinson
Barbara Dickson
Karyn Dougan
Douglas Dunn
Patrick James Errington
Sally Evans
David Eyre
Andy Fierens
Martin Figura
Mark Ford
Ashley Foster
Miriam Gamble
Magi Gibson
Marjorie Lotfi Gill
Georgi Gill
John Glenday
Jane Goldman
Katie Hale
Will Harris
Hamish Hawk
Rachel Hazell
Oli Hazzard
W.N. Herbert
Rita Ann Higgins
Sara Hirsch
Helen Ivory
Nadine Aisha Jassat
Paula Jennings
Julie Johnstone
Brian Johnstone
Stephen Jones
Chris Jones
Doris Kareva
Sigrid Kingma
Vanessa Kisuule
Zaffar Kunial
Helen Lawrenson
Iona Lee
William Letford
Jenny Lindsay
Pippa Little
Liz Lochhead
Gerry Loose
Owen Lowery
Lindsay Macgregor
Martin MacIntyre
Maggie Mackay
Rob A. Mackenzie
Jim Mackintosh
Main Street Blues
Nichola Martin
Richie McCaffery
Iggy McGovern
Colin McGuire
Jane McKie
Esther Mijers
Thomas Möhlmann
Sinéad Morrissey
Theresa Muñoz
Daljit Nagra
Miriam Nash
Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill
Tonnus Oosterhoff
Jess Orr
Past Poets 2018
Stuart Paterson
Don Paterson
Luke Pell
Ester Naomi Perquin
Anne Pia
Rachel Plummer
Jacob Polley
John Quinn
Anindya Raychaudhuri
Hannah Raymond-Cox
Johann Reißer
Elizabeth Rimmer
Michael Symmons Roberts
Stewart Sanderson
Ulrike Almut Sandig
Catherine Sargeant
Finola Scott
Max Scratchmann
William Sieghart
Steve Smart
Frank Starik
Alice Tarbuck
Gregory Tate
Judith Taylor
Marie-Therese Taylor
Sheila Templeton
Geart Tigchelaar
David Vallis
Lies Van Gasse
Maud Vanhauwaert
Alan Vest
Stephen Watt
Morag Wells
Jay Whittaker
Colin Will
JL Williams
Christie Williamson
Catherine Wilson

Funding for 2018

StAnza is funded by Creative Scotland, EventScotland and Fife Council and supported by the University of St Andrews, the School of English, StayInStAndrews and St Leonards. For 2018 we are also grateful for support from Al-Maktoum College Community Fund through Foundation Scotland, Culture Ireland as part of GB18: Promoting Irish Arts in Britain, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Flanders Literature, The Government of Flanders, LTI Korea, the British Council, the Estonian Literature Centre, and the Goethe-Institut.