Archive | January, 2011

Happy Burns Day!

25 Jan

Scotland must be unique in having a national celebration that centres on a poet’s birth, and a poet whose reputation goes so far beyond the shores of his own land.

That Burns is still relevant and can be constantly re-invented is clear from today’s fabulous flashmob get-together on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, organised by the Scottish Poetry Library and UNESCO City of Literature, as part of the latter’s Let’s Get Lyrical campaign.

And last night on Radio Ulster, StAnza’s own Eleanor Livingstone (pictured) joined Scotland’s new Makar, Liz Lochhead and Nat Edwards, head of the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, for a discussion on the influence of Robert Burns today. The trio explored many aspects of the Bard‘s legend and Eleanor mentions StAnza’s tribute to Burns on 20 March: a performance by poet Kevin Williamson of Burns’s unpublished political poems.

You can listen to the Radio Ulster programme here

StAnza brochure now online

23 Jan

StAnza’s brand new, redesigned brochure, which is hot off the presses, is now also available online As well as day-by-day information about venues and events, it includes a handy, at-a-glance matrix on page 14, so you can check what’s on where.

The striking cover image, below, is by poet Steve Ronnie, whose inventive audio-visual installations will be on show during StAnza at the Trust Museum, St Andrews. The full list of visual art exhibitions and films is on page 12 of the brochure and we will feature the artists and their work in future blogs.

Scotland’s new National Poet appointed

19 Jan

Everyone at StAnza was delighted to hear today that Liz Lochhead has been named as Scotland’s new National Poet, following in the footsteps of Edwin Morgan who held the post until his death in August 2010.

Liz Lochhead, who is currently Glasgow’s Poet Laureate, has had a long and distinguished career as a poet, playwright and performer and she enjoys immense popular appeal in Scotland and beyond. She has made several appearances at StAnza over the years, most recently in 2008. We offer our warmest congratulations to her.

Read more details here:

StAnza’s Gaelic feast: from Sorley MacLean to ‘A Thousand Sails’

18 Jan

Lurach are set to bring sweet music to StAnza

StAnza’s Gaelic Focus  brings together poetry, art and music in a celebration of the richness ofGaelic language and culture. The festival has appointed its first ever Gaelic Poet-in-Residence: Maoilios Caimbeul (Myles Campbell) the acclaimed poet from Skye. He will betaking part in several readings, workshops and events including a special series of tributes to Somhairle MacGill-Eain (Sorley MacLean), the influential Gaelic poet, whose anniversary year this is.

The highlight of these tributes will be a special concert by the soloist Lesley-Jane Rogers and members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the University of St Andrews Chamber Orchestra. They will be performing – for the very first time – new settings for poems by MacGill-Eain, the winning entries in StAnza’s composition competition. The judging has just been completed and we’ll be revealing more about the winners very soon.

Among several wonderful exhibitions at StAnza, Catriona Taylor’s A Thousand Sails offers a visual response to the profoundly Gaelic themes of emigration, clearance and journeys. The exhibition is complemented by a display of Gaelic manuscripts from the rich archives of the Scottish Poetry Library. And the Gaelic theme is continued in a series of poetry films.

Helping to launch StAnza on 16th March will be Mairi and Steaphanaidh Chaimbeul, native Gaelic speakers whose love of Scottish traditional music is deep-rooted, but whose music also draws on jazz, world music, and the classical. And to see the festival out on the 20th, will be Lurach, a quartet of talented musicians who learned their skills in the Outer Hebrides and are certain to get everybody’s feet tapping.

StAnza’s brochures now available

17 Jan

New Year has whizzed past, the snow has melted (on some places anyway) and the StAnza team are forging ahead with preparations for the festival in March. Tickets are already on sale, the events programme is online at for your perusal and best of all, the StAnza new-look brochure is hot off the press and soon to found at poetry venues, libraries, bookshops and theatres across the country. You can also order one to be posted out, free of charge, and plan your visit to StAnza from the comfort of home. Call 01334 474610 or email

StAnza tickets on sale next week

1 Jan

Festive greetings from StAnza and all best wishes for 2011.

Our programme for March has grown considerably since it went online a month ago. There is now a parcel of additional events and a few changes elsewhere, so do check it out and let us know what you think.

The printed brochure will be available very soon and tickets go on general sale on Tuesday 11th January: online, by phone or in person at the Box Office in St Andrews. You will note we have kept our prices affordable, plus there are early bird and bulk purchase discounts available too, and numerous free and unticketed events on offer.

There is too much happening to summarise it all here – 87 events, exhibitions, installations and films – but look out for our Gaelic focus and Australian focus, and for a range of Poetry Cafe events as part of Scotland’s Land of Food and Drink. For those who like to join in, our Saturday night Slam will have a New York vibe this year and, by popular demand, we’ve got a new early evening event – for those who prefer a mellow open mic experience.  More on all of this shortly, but meantime why not take advantage of the holidays to check out the updated programme online here

Bob Holman

%d bloggers like this: