Archive | November, 2014

StAnza 2015 Programme Revealed

30 Nov

 

2 AK

StAnza 2014 launch, photograph http://www.alistairkerr.com

It’s 30th November so a very happy St Andrews Day from St Andrews, where the sky is blue and the sun is shining. And here at StAnza Central, there are smiles on all our faces – and no, it’s not because we’re still licking our lips after Thursday’s wonderful Blame Montezuma event – but because after the months of planning and preparation, the excitement and thrills we had to keep secret, and after putting together enough aggregated text for several collected volumes, the programme for StAnza 2015 is finally revealed.

Carolyn Forche, photograph by Sean Mattison

Carolyn Forche, photograph by Sean Mattison

For our eighteenth festival, StAnza comes of age with six glorious days of events in St Andrews from 3–8 March, including two all-day workshops leading up to the festival launch in splendid locations at Hill of Tarvit Mansion House and Kellie Castle. More than 60 poets are on the bill, plus musicians, visual artists, actors and other writers. You can find the programme and browse through it now at http://ow.ly/F5Muc – just click on the top line of any event listing to enter whole page of information. Or of course you can go via our website homepage at www.stanzapoetry.org

The festival will open with a performance of Bedazzled: A Welshman in New York, bringing a little bit of New York to St Andrews. For one night the Byre Theatre will be transformed into 1950’s New York as audience members are invited to enjoy a drink with the cast, in character as Dylan Thomas and friends, while being transported back in time to the heady, bohemian world of Greenwich Village in the 50s.

Simon Armitage, photograph by Paul Wolfgang

Simon Armitage, photograph by Paul Wolfgang

Among this year’s headliners are Simon Armitage and New Zealand’s first Poet Laureate Bill Manhire, Anne Stevenson, Paul Durcan and Sheenagh Pugh, along with several major poets on their first appearance at StAnza, Glyn Maxwell who will deliver the StAnza 2015 lecture, Sinéad Morrissey, currently Belfast’s Poet Laureate, Ian Duhig and American poets Alice Notley, Carolyn Forché and Ilya Kaminsky. Winners of the 2014 Forward Prize for best collection and Forward First Prize, Kei Miller and Liz Berry, respectively are also included in this year’s line up along with Helen Mort, recent winner of the Aldeburgh First Collection prize. They join poets from Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Sardinia and Mallorca and others from across Scotland and the UK. We’ve created an individual profile page for everyone on the bill, so to find out more about them, just go to the online participant index, click on a name and their page will open. There’s also a page for each festival venue.

Photograph by Christine Clark

Performance events include The Shipwrecked House and Sealegs; the visual art exhibitions and installations range from watercolours to 3D digital poetry; there will be music from the Viridian Quartet, performing Steve Reich’s Different Trains, from Kirsty Law, jazz singer Lorna Reid, and from the Black Cat Jook band, and as part of the 15 minute personal ViewMaster shows each designed for, and delivered to, just one person. This year’s events are in association with two leading poetry magazines, The Wolf and Poetry London, their editors presenting poets they recommend; and elsewhere we have Writing Motherhood, A Modern Don Juan, and Past & Present sessions on Alastair Reid, Russian poets and neo-Latin Scottish poets.

Photograph by David Vallis

Spoken word and performance poets on the bill include Hollie McNish, Erin Fornoff, Elvis McGonagall, stand-up comedy poet Owen O’Neill and last year’s StAnza slam winner, Agnes Török; and in an innovations for 2015, Robin Vaughan-Williams will lead an all-day collaborative improvisation performance workshop for up to five people, to conclude with a short spontaneous performance.

That is just one of a range of participation events – six workshops in total are offered this year – along with a Simon Armitage Masterclass. Saturday Live radio regular Elvis McGonagall will host the StAnza Slam for us, and as ever there will be umpteen opportunities for your own poetry, including at three open mic events.

>erasure  image - Sonja Benskin Mesher, text - George Szirtes.

Kevin Reid’s >erasure image – Sonja Benskin Mesher, text – George Szirtes.

Believe it or not, this isn’t everything. We will be adding further events and installations over the next month, and telling you more about our events for Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, so please keep checking for updates, but meantime enjoy the feast online here.

Tickets don’t go on sale until early January, so you have plenty of time to browse and work out what will be top of your wish list for March. The printed brochure will be available later in January. If you’re not on our postal mailing list already, brochures can be requested by emailing brochure@stanzapoetry.org or telephoning 01334 474610. And make sure you’re on our e-list so you get all the latest updates direct to your inbox. Sign up for this at list@stanzapoetry.org.

White Horses by Karen Cairns

White Horses by Karen Cairns

Screenshot 2014-10-31 07.12.03 (3)

 

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Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 109: Harray Loch

29 Nov

The Loch at Harray

We glide out, dip the oars,
barely disturb the water

or each other. Light opens
the end of the loch,

the reeds, and the bubbles of flies
shaving the dark flat surface.

Breeze lifts your fringe, soothes skin.
The trout avoid us

in the shallows, but we see
them cruise. Our bloodstained

hooks lie untouched. September;
we might not come back again.

The sun cools even as we slide along.
Soon it will be the equinox,

a long dive hard to imagine.
The loch turning into a cold place –

white metallic. The grey fingers
of standing stones on the ridge

pointing to a smudged sky. Nothing
has been quite as clear for months.

Julie-ann Rowell.

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 108: The Whaligoe Steps, Caithness

28 Nov

Assent

Men tied these cords round bundles
of themselves, round gear and harvest,
bare possession, stuff. Hitched rawness
to the skin, bound tracks of rope and line
into the flesh, knots holding purpose,
sacrifices of their sex. Their being
burnt like tar about its ends.

With every climb, each gathering
to the hearth, a deeper cut, one firmer
in the hand, within the muscle of the arm.
Each pace the line held, each the cord
brought goods and chance discovery,
the step still firm. Hemp and sisal,
twisted straw: a guarantee, a bet.

Brian Johnstone

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics16

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 107: Isle of Harris

27 Nov

The Tennis Court. Isle Of Harris

The September road was a single track
Squirming west through hills barely tolerant
Of grass already browned by salt and wind.

It swayed in a compass dither
Upwards to a sky just lighter
Than itself then dipped seaward to another grey.

Like nunataks in ice rocks (more greys),
Made dumb threats through hostile slopes.
Black roadside ditches carved by foreign
Interventions were the only boundaries
Of man’s control, we thought, until
We met another outpost of his will.

Something anathema to wilderness,
A square. It’s not the vivid green
That bothers you, it’s the conformity
Of grass height (or lack of height
Owing nothing to the ravaging of sheep),
Of rigidly controlled white lines
Secured behind neat triangles
Of mechanically-contrived wire,
And all this carved, levelled, squared
Out of the living roundness of the hill.
And then the last irrelevance, a tiny
Painted clubhouse with a window.
The lack of human figures seemed most apt.
This surely was no place for white apparel
Sheathing bronzed and supple limbs
Or blazered bosses on high chairs..

So we went on to Hushinish,
To the living sand swirling ankle height
And wavelets making futile forays
On the rocks. To six houses that had
Grown slowly from the ground.
And a bent man digging.

Derek Crook
To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland poem no 106: Dumgoyne

26 Nov

Dumgoyne in December

the Giant
turns a deaf ear
to blooming buzzing confusion
stone circles clustering for attention

over the very edge
of reason,
their fucked-up lustre
reflects paucity of sky

other stalks rage
in the face of the prevailing,
bleeding odd pollen
onto stony ground

His dreamscape flickers
off again forever
the monochrome duvet pulled
over his head

John McGlade

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland poem 105: Stevenston Point

25 Nov

Birdwatching at Stevenston Point

On a windswept green finger
that points to Arran,
four-eyed and three-eyed
we watch the clockwork Sanderling
racing the waves

A flotilla of Eider cruise by
their plaintive mew carried by the wind.
The diving ducks dive
and a lone seal watches us
scanning the grey

I feel an inner warmth
that the cold Clyde air
cannot penetrate.
I raise my glasses and toast
this sunlit day.

 

Derek Parkes

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map of Scotland poem 104: Loch Scridain

24 Nov

Memo from the short eared owls
on the road along Loch Scridain

Questions-
they sit upon the stobs,
perch upon the poles.
If only they would flap away,
or drop. Mice and shrews are easy,
likewise the frogs.
And we don’t hate the scampering,
hopping things.
We all must eat, make do.
But questions give us
indigestion.

 

Seth Crook

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

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