Stanza 2016 Diary – Saturday 5 March

9 Mar

Dave Poems.

Full Disclosure: Part two of a two-part series on being at StAnza poetry festival. Still a paid gig, all of yesterday’s caveats apply.

10am: Aase Berg, Clare Best, SJ Fowler, Andrew McMillan, Justin Stephenson: Poetry Breakfast

As I sit down to write this on the mezzanine in the Byre, a poem translated by my pal Jessica Johannesson Gaitán has appeared projected on the far wall. Sometimes wee particles of unexpected joy hurl themselves at you and your heart is glad. Hey Jess! Your poem is wonderful. It’s called ‘Cathedral 2.0’, about a computer recreation of St Andrews cathedral, and has lines like ‘a tissue sustained by professionalised gaming-aesthetics’; ‘There are no stars upon my linen / or on the inside of my eyelids’.

After a morning’s formalities of tea and introductions, the Saturday morning panel was themed around the body in poetry. McMillan, whose book physical won the…

View original post 2,234 more words

Redirection – We have moved!

10 Dec

A warm thank you to all our blog readers over the last few years. This blog will be closing shortly and we very much hope that you will follow us to our new home at

Here are some idea s for how you can keep StAnza in your life!

WordPress users: How you can follow the StAnza blog

If you follow the stanza blog through the WordPress reader, you can still follow the blog at its new location.

To add StAnza Poetry Festival to your reader, click your Reader tab and then Manage. (On older versions click EDIT).



At the top of the page, enter in the “Enter a site URL to follow” box.



‘Reader’ users: How to use the RSS feed on the Stanza blog

Aggregator software (readers) monitor blogs you are interested in and let you know which ones have new entries without having to check each one.

Your reader should find the RSS feed automatically if you just enter the URL of the Stanza Blog feed:

Popular free aggregators are:


Don’t forget StAnza on Social Media

@StAnzaPoetry on Twitter

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us on Flickr

StAnza 2016 programme now revealed!

30 Nov

Screenshot 2015-11-04 10.43.31If, like us, you’ve been counting down the days: our new programme is finally here! StAnza 2016 will be our 19th annual festival and we do hope you’ll join us in March. We have a stunning line-up of more than 60 poets from around the world, including Jane Yolen and James Arthur from the USA, Sarah Holland-Batt from Australia, Aase Berg from Sweden, the UK’s own Lemn Sissay and a trio of German language poets, including Nora Gomringer, all making their first appearance at StAnza. Making a very welcome return are Jo Shapcott, Thomas Lynch, Sean O’Brien, Don Paterson, Pascale Petit, Jo Bell, John Burnside, Tracey Herd, Meg Bateman and Matthew Sweeney. And we’re delighted to have two very recent prize winners taking part; Andrew McMillan has this month won both the Guardian First Book Award and the Aldeburgh Fenton Best First Collection prize and he’ll be reading with Fiona Benson, joint winner of this year’s Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.

For Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design our first theme for 2016 will be City Lines. We’ll be listening out for urban verse and considering how poetry engages with city life and connects cities – the small cathedral city of St Andrews connecting with poets and poetry in cities around the world. We have designed a festival programme which celebrates architecture and explores how poetry can engage with our built environment. Both in discussions and creatively, we shall ask how poetry can help people build and sustain personal and public creative spaces, an idea at the heart of Lucy Jones’ exhibition Building with Words in which our artist in residence from 2015 has wonderfully captured the architecture of St Andrews in a collage of text and images.

Our second theme, Body of Poetry, will embrace the many ways in which poetry celebrates and explores human and other bodies, both literally and metaphorically, looking at their needs and appetites, their beauties and imperfections. Thomas Lynch, poet, essayist and funeral director, will deliver this year’s lecture on the Body of Poetry theme, as well as a workshop on Earthy Bodies. And in an innovation for 2016, we shall also have our first dedicated translated language focus with a strand of events showcasing German poetry, including KOOKbooks as featured publisher at the Poetry Market. Should any of these strands particularly take your fancy, our new website will allow you to search for events which connect with a particular programme theme or focus.

This year’s spoken word strand at the festival includes a range of the best of today’s performers, from Lemn Sissay and Nora Gomringer, who’ll both be performing at our evening Centre Stage events, to our lunchtime Poetry Café sessions which include this year’s BBC Slam champion Scott Tyrrell, a duo of Loud Poets from Edinburgh, Jemima Foxtrot’s acclaimed four-star show Melody (‘A glittering show, a gem in every sense, a shining thing’ The Stage) and Kirsten Luckins, one of a crowd of poets from the north-east of England appearing this year. We’ll also have the Scottish premiere of Beginning to See the Light, newer voices from the Young London Laureate scheme and the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writer Awards, and a celebration of 21 years of The Dark Horse. We’re also welcoming as a guest to the festival the winner of the Caracas-based World Without Censorship’s current poetry competition, Letras de Libertad. Elsewhere on the programme are participants from Canada and Georgia.

StAnza is also about taking part, and Sean O’Brien will take this year’s Masterclass as part of our series of ‘take part’ events for 2016. John Burnside will lead an all-day workshop on Tuesday 1st March in the splendid setting of Kingsbarns Distillery and there are more workshops from the inimitable Jo Bell, Matthew Sweeney and Harry Man, who will be Poet in Residence. We’ll also have our usual open mics and the annual StAnza Slam; we’re inviting submissions for a couple of other poetry projects (more about those soon); and there are also a couple of open places in The StAnza Camarade led by S.J. Fowler.

Also in residence at the festival will be Rebecca Sharp as Poet-Perfumer and Clive Birnie as Hashtag# Poet with StAnza’s first installation for Instagram. The visual art programme also includes an exhibition of the Potter, Painter and Poet collaboration, Poetrytreat, a range of installations and from Berlin, an exhibition which asks: What’s the point of poetry?

If you’re looking for music, the opening night show is Sea Threads/Sea Treeds, a Shetlandic sea chronicle performed by acclaimed jazz band Tommy Smith’s Karma and poet Christine De Luca. We also have To the Lighthouse, a concert of musical responses to Virginia Woolf’s poetic novel, as well as jazz, clarsach, folk and Turning the Elements, another new music and poetry collaboration for soprano and clarinet.

Wake up and smell the poetry with our breakfast panel events. Let coffee, pastries and a provocative panel discussion on this year’s festival themes ease you in to the festival day (join the live webcasts if you can’t be there in person) and late night poetry and music events will keep things lively until midnight. The festival hub at the Byre Theatre is the perfect place to catch up with old friends and make new ones, or to relax with a book and coffee. With its plethora of exhibitions, installations, films and talks about poets and poetry past and present – and the chance to enjoy the wonderful town of St Andrews rich with beaches and walks, ruins and shops – StAnza 2016 offers a multi-layered festival experience with something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you there. Tickets go on sale in early January so plenty of time to plan your festival diary.

You can find full details on our new website at and that’s also where you’ll also find the StAnza Blog from now on, at And if you’re looking for the Poetry Map, it’s at

We’ll be adding a few more events before March but this is the core programme. Do let us know what you think about it, and about our new website, and we look forward to seeing you in St Andrews in March.

StAnza 2016 coming very soon …

30 Nov

Screenshot 2015-11-04 10.43.31 (2)Happy St Andrews Day!

The programme for StAnza 2016 will be revealed this evening: five packed days of events in St Andrews from 2–6 March, plus two workshops leading up to the festival. More than 60 poets will take part, plus musicians, visual artists, actors, film-makers and other writers. From later today – we’ll let you know when – you’ll be able to find the programme and browse through it on our new-look website. So watch this space….

Reminder that we’ve moving soon …

29 Nov

Screenshot 2015-11-24 06.24.29A reminder that the StAnza Blog will shortly be moving house, probably tomorrow evening, and after that we won’t be posting any more at this web address. When we’re online at the new address, boxes unpacked, books on shelves – we’re taking all the archive of blog posts with us – we’ll post a final message here with the web address for our new home. And we do hope you’ll come and visit us there. It will be open house!

A new call for poems for StAnza’s Poetry Map of Scotland

28 Nov
St Andrews Castle Susanne Arbuckle

St Andrews Castle Susanne Arbuckle

Our Poetry Map of Scotland project continues apace. We now have more than 200 poems on the map, most of them also posted on our blog, and we’re working our way through several dozen more still to be added. Things have slowed down recently because of the pressure of planning for next year’s festival, and we’ll catch up with the backlog after the festival if not before, but now we have exciting news about a new project for the map.

For StAnza 2015 we featured various of the poems submitted for the map which had an island focus as part of our Archipelago of Poetry theme. Poems or excerpts from them featured on shop windows around town, on postcards, on coffee napkins and in a digital installation, a version of which can still be seen online at An Archipelago of Poems installation at StAnza 2015.

Next year will be Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and as part of this we will have a focus on architecture at the festival, as a strand of our City Lines theme. We plan to include in this a digital installation featuring some short poems about a building or other architectural feature in Scotland. So we’re looking for poems about Scottish cottages, castles and everything in between and inviting people who would like to take part in this project to send us your short poems – published or unpublished is fine, as long as they are about Scottish buildings – and if you’ve already submitted a suitable one for the map, then email and remind us. Or we might use excerpts from longer poems.

We’ll choose a selection of the poems received to feature in a digital installation and they will also be pinned to the Poetry Map of Scotland.

Email your poems to with “Building Poems” as the subject line, and please confirm that the poems are your own and that you give us permission to include them in the installation.

StAnza 2016 flyer

28 Nov

Screenshot 2015-11-04 10.43.47Actual copies of our flyer for StAnza 2016 should be out and about all over the place soon but we couldn’t resist letting you see it here as well. The wonderful artwork is by Lucy Jones, our Artist in Residence this year, and you can see the original works and others at the Byre Theatre in March. The design is by Alan, our amazing designer at Levenmouth Printers. Our thanks to them both!

Screenshot 2015-11-08 10.01.34

%d bloggers like this: