Archive | September, 2011

StAnza opens up brave new worlds of poetry

26 Sep

StAnza took part in a worldwide round of poetry readings on Saturday 24th September, organised by the World Poetry Movement. A  small but beautifully assembled group of  poetry folk gathered in the sunlit Byre Theatre, surrounded by a hefty pile of books and plenty of coffee to replenish us during an afternoon of informal readings and chat.

Ours was just one of 874 poetry readings and events in 540 cities in 107 countries that were planned, with the emphasis on promoting peaceful international links.

 And indeed, from our comfy chairs, we managed to cross oceans and continents, choosing poetry that was new to us, inspiring, or by poets we knew and wanted to share. From the Seine to Struga, from Palestine to the shores of California, it was quite a journey. And, in the spirit of Cavafy, having enjoying the travelling, we might set out on another trip soon.

The World Poetry Movement  (WPM) was founded in Medellín (Colombia) on July 9, 2011, and includes 108 international poetry festivals, 88 poetry projects and 1.016 poets from 126 countries.

11 Poems Everyone Should Know

24 Sep
Bob Holman, who took part in StAnza this year, has posted online his list of 11

Bob Holman at StAnza 2011 (photo Long Nguyen)

Poems Everyone Should Know .  Now there’s an interesting idea. Bob’s list contains poems by Amy Lowell, E.E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, Andrew Marvell, Ezra Pound, Ernest L. Thayer, Langston Hughes, Gerard Manley Hopkins, the King James Bible, Arthur Rimbaud and Fernando Pessoa. But is this a universal list?  How much would individual lists overlap, and is it possible to fix on 11 essential poems. If anyone would like to to post their 11 poems, we’d be happy to publish lists here, for comparison and discussion.


Autumn poetry books giveaway: two exciting new voices

20 Sep

Now that the festival season is over, there’s nothing better than having a new poetry collection to dip into as the nights draw in. And our friends at the Edinburgh International Book Festival have kindly supplied us with some books to give away to StAnza followers: windfalls from the crop of wonderful poets who came to Charlotte Square this year. Our first pair of books to give away are tw0 new, highly accomplished new voices.

Rachael Boast (who studied at St Andrews and has been a regular volunteer at StAnza) is a star who is certainly rising. Her first collection Sidereal (Picador) has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, and has been longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.

Will Eaves is a poet and novelist: formerly arts editor of the Times Literary Supplement, he now teaches at the University of Warwick. His first full poetry collection Sound Houses (Carcanet) ranges in subject and setting from the Australian bush to the West Country, from sick rooms to football terraces and examines the uncertainties of everyday life with both a comic and elegiac sensibility.

To take part in our giveaway, email your name and full postal address to

The first entry to be received before 5pm, Friday 23 September will receive the books.

Risk a verse at the StAnza and Inky Fingers Slam, 8 October

14 Sep

StAnza’s lively poetry slams have become a byword for great entertainment all year round. This autumn, StAnza has teamed up with Inky Fingers, the spoken word collective from Edinburgh, to present the latest of its Risk-A-Verse nights at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews at 7.30pm on 8 October.

Risk-A-Verse is one of a series of creative events being held in Fife during October as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. It’s also a great way for poetry fans to mark National Poetry Day (6 October). Slams are fun, fast and friendly, a chance for everyone to show they have a voice in an entertaining atmosphere. Come along to cheer on the poets, or perform a poem on stage yourself. To sign up for one of the performer’s slots, just email the organisers on

Tickets are available from the Byre Theatre 01334 475000. For more about SMHAFF, visit their website: .

New top prize of £2,500 to be won in Troubadour’s Poetry Competition

11 Sep

Anne-Marie Fyfe at StAnza 2010 (photo by Al Buntin)

Details of the Fifth Annual Troubadour International Poetry Prize have just been announced by poet Anne-Marie Fyfe, organiser of the Coffee-House Poetry programme at the Troubadour, with a newly increased first prize of £2,500. The judges, who will read all the poems, will be Susan Wicks and David Harsent, and the competition, which is sponsored by Cegin Productions, has a deadline for submissions of Monday 17th October, 2011.

The competition is a highlight of the Coffee-House Poetry programme of readings, workshops and music, based at the Troubadour on London’s Brompton Road.

The prizes are: 1st £2,500, 2nd £500, 3rd £250 & 20 prizes of £20 each Plus a Spring 2012 Coffee-House-Poetry season-ticket and a prizewinners’ Coffee-House Poetry reading with Susan Wicks & David Harsent on Mon 28th Nov 2011 for all prize-winning poets, and the entry fee is £5.00

For full details, go to

Jackie Kay, wins the Scottish Book of the Year.

8 Sep

The poet and writer Jackie Kay was the worthy winner of the Scottish Book of the Year Award, for her memoir, Red Dust Road. During the awards ceremony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last month, poetry and song featured large in the extract she read and during her chat with BBC Radio Four’s Jenni Murray. Also there to receive the prize for the poetry category was Stewart Conn, whose collection The Breakfast Room offers delicate reminders of  the precious fragility of life and of what seems, at first glance, to be everyday and ordinary. This theme resonated in Kay’s writing too.

We are delighted that Jackie Kay will appearing at StAnza in 2012. We’ll be announcing more names early next month.

For more about the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Award winners, visit the website:

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