2020 Afterword

Birdspeed: Poetry Cafe @ StAnza 2020
David Vallis Photography

"StAnza is a wonderfully warm, embracing and inspiring kist o riches." (Jim Mackintosh)

Goodness, doesn’t StAnza 2020 seem a lifetime ago? Hard to believe how much the world has changed in the weeks and months since then. It’s been wonderful – if bittersweet – hearing from some of you how the poetry, the warmth and the encounters at the festival nourished and sustained you in the time that followed.

We’re leafing through the programme now with a sense of joy and loss and longing. So glad that we got to see Carolyn Forché and Mimi Khalvati read again and that we could meet the force of nature that is Joelle Taylor. So heartbroken for our fellow festival organisers elsewhere, who just weeks later saw months of passionate hard work unravel out of their reach.

If poetry is a touchstone, an amulet, a candle to carry into the darkness then we need it now more than ever. Perhaps for you that touchstone was Jay Bernard’s searing, electrifying performance, a powerful inditement of racism in the UK. Perhaps it was Yolanda Castano’s warm, wry reading which followed, building us all back up again after Bernard had torn us down, so that between the two of them they sent us out into the world as slightly different people. You might remember with wonder D.A. Powell’s hilarious, meandering reading or Jen Hadfield’s gentle, weighty one. Or maybe it was something completely different – the joyful singing of the almost prophetic parody of ‘Delilah’ (“Buy, buy, buy tomatoes!”) at our WrapperRhymes Meet the Artist.

Maybe you re-set your poetic compass with our theme of Due North and discovered new poetry and new translations from our Scandinavian neighbours. (Juana Adcock’s political, musical versions of the Swedish poet Ida Börjel have stayed with us.) Or maybe our theme of Coast Lines made you turn your gaze to poetry from the far-flung corners and islands of Scotland.

Personally, when we want to be warmed, we think back to that final night in the Byre as the whole theatre joined in singing. What a send-off. What an audience. Or we think of our volunteers – we had so many new faces in the team this year and they were so generous with their time, their thoughts, their work. And of course, we think of our marvellous poets and artists, each of whom, in their way, made us see the world a little bit different.

Wherever your StAnza journey led you, we’re glad you let us be travelling companions for a while.

StAnza 2020 : 4 - 8 March : Gallery

Photos of poets and others taking part in StAnza 2020 and some of our favourite venue or atmosphere shots of St Andrews


Norwegian media: Norwegian Arts

The Scotsman: Review

Interlitq Review

The List Review

Glasgow Review of Books

The List - Poetry and Activism

Vicki Husband: North & Norsk & Norse

The Fountain Review

Seagulls and Sandwiches

Soundscapes and Stones

Sea Winds and Stars

Moonlight and Mermaids

Surf, Saturday, Sunday

I have packed my suitcase full of sea glass

Scottish Field - StAnza 2020 Review

Scotland's Nature

PAMIS at StAnza 2020

The Saint - Interview with Festival Director

Dutch media: 31Mag - StAnza 2020 Preview

The National - StAnza 2020 Preview

Fife Today - StAnza 2020 Preview

Scottish Field - StAnza 2020 Preview

The Courier - Preview of StAnza 2020 finale

Podcasts and Videos

RTI Radio, Ireland: The Poetry Programme from StAnza 2020  

Nancy Campbell at StAnza 2020

Berlin Water & Umbrellas at StAnza 

Anthony Anaxagorou

Jen Hadfield

Gerry Cambridge

Digital Festival Material


Bright Coast



Portraits of the Edge


StAnza 2020 took place from 4-8 March, 2020

PDF icon Stanza 2020 Brochure.pdf
StAnza 2020 Brochure online »

Festival themes

Our themes for StAnza 2020 were Coast Lines and Due North.


Jill Abram
Donald Adamson
Juana Adcock
Katie Ailes
Anthony Anaxagorou
Bryan Angus
Jan Baeke
Zoe Benbow
Jill Bennett
Jay Bernard
Beverley Bie Brahic
Maria Björklund
John Bolland
Helene Boppert
Ida Börjel
Colin Bramwell
Elspeth Brown
Matthew Caley
Gerry Cambridge
Nancy Campbell
Yolanda Castaño
Kyra Clegg
Ken Cockburn
Valerie Coffin Price
Sophie Collins
Sarah Corbett
David J. Costello
Ian Crockatt
Anna Crowe
Jim Crumley
Claudia Daventry
Lynn Davidson
Christine De Luca
Shehzar Doja
Robert Maxwell Duncan
Jenny Elliott
Catherine Eunson
Suzannah V. Evans
Penny Fielding
Alec Finlay
Carolyn Forché
Katie Garner
Steven Gellatly
Marjorie Lotfi Gill
Valerie Gillies
John Glenday
Stephanie Green
Andrew Greig
Jen Hadfield
Lesley Harrison
Oli Hazzard
Sonja Heyer
Lynne Hjelmgaard
Tom Humberstone
Vicki Husband
Maria Isakova Bennett
Astrid Jaekel
R. A. Jamieson
Brian Johnstone
Sandy NicDhòmhnaill Jones
JOOT Theatre Company
Stephen Keeler
Mimi Khalvati
Linda Klakken
Daisy Lafarge
Morten Langeland
Dorothy Lawrenson
Maja Lee Langvad
Michael Longley
Katrine Lyck
Poul Lynggaard Damgaard
Cecilie Løveid
Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
Hamish MacGregor
Jim Mackintosh
Robbie MacLeòid
Sabrina Mahfouz
Martin Malone
Roderick Manson
Mane Manushev
Robyn Marsack
Bejan Matur
Val McDermid
Alannah Moar
Deborah Moffatt
Denis Mollison
Marion F. Morrison
Katrina Naomi
Helena Nelson
Ruth Nicol
Niall O'Gallagher
Aileen Ogilvie
Mhairi Owens
Past Poets 2020
Jeda Pearl
Miranda Pearson
Clare Phillips
Alycia Pirmohamed
Rachel Plummer
D.A. Powell
Chris Powici
Pauline Prior-Pitt
John Quinn
Rachel Rankin
Eleanor Rees
Laurna Robertson
James Robertson
Julie-ann Rowell
Stina Saari
Johan Sandberg McGuinne
Carolyn Scott
Agnes Scott Langeland
Rebecca Sharp
Andy Sim
Zoë Skoulding
Steve Smart
Anne Stewart
Eòghan Stiùbhart
Pete Stollery
Angie Strachan
Emma Sutton
Pauli Tapio
Joelle Taylor
Sheila Templeton
Tim Turnbull
Charlotte Van den Broeck
Sheila Wakefield
Tony Walsh
Roseanne Watt
Christie Williamson
Luke Wright
Jay G. Ying

Funding for 2020

StAnza is funded by Creative Scotland, EventScotland, as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters, and Fife Council and supported by the University of St Andrews, the School of English and St Leonards, with additional support for 2020 from NORLA, the Norwegian Embassy in London, the Swedish Arts Council, the Goethe-Institut, the Dutch Foundation for Literature and Flanders Literature.