Archive | August, 2015

Cue drum roll, the winner is announced!

30 Aug

Thanks to the hundreds of you who voted as well as the 17 who made the nominations. Not a bad response to an idea which was only thought up on Thursday night. Anyway, that’s 5pm past and we’ve counted up the votes.

The runaway winner by a mile was Kevin McLean for “Evelyn”, getting 29% of the vote, so congratulations to him.

The next two poems received 11% and 10% of the vote respectively so let’s call them joint runners up, that’s “Hanging with Poets” by The Antipoet and “4Plus” by @PoetBigCharlie. More congratulations to them.

And well done to all the poets nominated. Given the many hundreds of poems which must have been read in Edinburgh this month, even to be nominated is some recognition.

Vote now on your favourite poem from this year’s Edinburgh festivals

28 Aug

Okay, now it’s time to vote for “Best Poem” performed in Edinburgh this month. Here are the nominations, with the details as provided, less the various superlatives removed to allow some balance. So just vote for your favourite of those nominated, it couldn’t be easier (including now one late entry). Voting is open until 5pm on Sunday 30th August. (And if anyone made a nomination which has been missed out, do let us know!)





What was THE BEST POEM at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe ???

28 Aug

There’s always plenty of media fuss about the best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe but the poetry and spoken word programme at this year’s Fringe has been amazing so what let’s hear it for the best poem. We’ve decided to do a quick poll for this year. Today only it’s your chance to nominate your favourite poem performed at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Don’t worry if you can’t remember the exact title, or even the exact poet just explain which poem you mean and we’ll put together all the nominations received by around 5pm today and we’ll give everyone the chance to vote on their favourite. Voting will be open until 5pm Sunday and then we’ll announce the winner after that. And do let us have any comments to help identify the nominated poems if we don’t have titles or names. And we’re saying Edinburgh Fringe, but mean that in the broadest way so if people want to nominate a poem from an Edinburgh Book Festival event (or International Festival even!), then that’s fine as well. But just ONE nomination per person, thanks.

Just StAnza in Edinburgh this month

8 Aug
StAnza photo by Jacqueline Skelton

StAnza photograph by Jacqueline Skelton

We’re delighted that the Just Festival asked us to curate three poetry events for them this month in Edinburgh. The three events will be on Tuesdays 11th, 18th and 25th August, all 4pm to 5pm.

Eighteen years ago several Scottish poets got together to create annual StAnza festival, now a major annual international event. This series of three events at the Just Festival turns the spotlight 180° to focus on StAnza itself and some of the poets behind the festival’s success, as well as featuring short tasters of some poetry projects. Full details of each of the events are below. They take place in Edinburgh Fringe Venue 127, St John’s Church Hall, Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 4BJ. Tickets are £5 and can be bought online at online here.

Tuesday 11th August, 4pm-5pm:  The current chair of StAnza’s Board of Trustees and himself a well-known and well published Scottish poet Colin Will will read with Jenny Elliott whose poetry pamphlets have been shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Award in both 2014 and 2015, and Peter Jarvis whose first collection was published by HappenStance Press earlier this year. We’re also delighted that they’ll be joined by several poets who have contributed to StAnza’s Poetry Map of Scotland who will each read their poem from the map, including Charlotte Stirling, Elspeth Brown, Julie Hogg, Donald Adamson and Alwyn Marriage. This is an ongoing project but you can view the current version of the map at

Tuesday 18th August, 4pm-5pm: The Co-Founder of StAnza and our first Festival Director, Brian Johnstone heads the list of poets reading at this event, where he’ll be joined by two StAnza colleagues, Julia Prescott and Robin MacKenzie. We’re also delighted that they’ll be joined by several poets who have contributed to StAnza’s Poetry Map of Scotland who will each read their poem from the map, including Adam V. Cheshire, Colin Bartie, Peter Kerr, Keith Parker and  Elizabeth Rimmer. This is an ongoing project but you can view the current version of the map at

Tuesday 25th August, 4pm-5pm: Anna Crowe, one of the StAnza founders and now an Honorary President, is an internationally renowned poet and translator. She reads with the prize winning poet Claudia Daventry and Andy Jackson, poet and editor of the successful anthologies of poems about popular culture, Split Screen and Double Bill. And joining them, Carolyn Richardson, Matthew Macdonald, Nancy Somerville, Morgan Downie, Ruth Aylett and Michael Scott, contributors to the Double Bill anthology to read a selection of poems from it.

So if you are in Edinburgh this month, do come along to one of our events, we’ll be delighted to see you.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

6 Aug
Simon Armitage (photo Paul Wolfgang-Webster)

Simon Armitage (photo Paul Wolfgang-Webster)

This year, the Edinburgh International Book Festival runs from 15th to 31st August and we’re delighted to forward this information from them on some of the poetry they have on offer. You can buy tickets online for the events. However we’re delighted that StAnza has a supply of FREE tickets available to our followers for several of the events detailed below.

We have two pairs of free tickets for the four events specified which we can allocate to the first two people who contact us. If you would like to apply for any of the free pairs of tickets, please send an email to with a note of the event of your choice and your name and the tickets will be available for you to collect at the Edinburgh Book Festival box office.

Poetry Events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival
15 – 31 August 2015

Bringing over 800 authors to Edinburgh each year, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is a vibrant and inspiring festival for all lovers of the written and spoken word. 750 events, bookshops, cafes and plenty of activities for children jostle for attention in Charlotte Square Gardens, right in the heart of the city.

Poetry events are always a key part of the Book Festival and we have selected a few of the highlights from this year’s programme that might catch the eye of StAnza fans.

This year features exciting Book Festival debuts by international poets from Mexico and the First Nation Innu people of Northern Canada. Established names share the bill with up-and-coming poets who are making waves and look out for poetry in performance in special events celebrating spoken word and epic poetry recitals.

You can browse a full list of all poetry events here.

For more details on events or to book tickets, visit the Book Festival’s website, or call their box office on 0845 373 5888.

Kate Tempest with Don Paterson: Game Changing Poetry
Tue 18 August at 8.15pm

Still in her twenties, ferociously-talented Kate Tempest has been shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, won the Ted Hughes Prize for innovation in poetry and secured a novel contract with Bloomsbury. In this event Tempest discusses her full-length poetry collection, Hold Your Own, with acclaimed Scottish poet Don Paterson.

Buy tickets at

Mexican Writing, An Insider’s View with Gabriel Orozco: Poetry
Wed 19 August at 2.15pm

A very special chance to see three hugely talented poets from Mexico, who are also editors, publishers, novelists and impresarios. Monica de la Torre, Julian Herbert and Gabriela Jauregui create poetry that is bold and experimental. Their poems shine a powerful light on the experience of everyday Mexican people.

Buy tickets at

Ron Butlin & Valerie Gillies: Seeing Scotland in Verse
Thu 20 August at 12.15pm

Two former Edinburgh Makars and two of Scotland’s finest poets unite in this event. Ron Butlin’s The Magicians of Edinburgh interrogates Scotland’s past, present and future. Valerie Gillies’ The Cream of the Well brings together four decades of poetry, from her early volumes to unpublished poems, showing how her writing has shaped and inspired her life.

Buy tickets at
or email for a chance of one of two pairs of free tickets for the above event.

George the Poet: Meet the People’s Poet
Fri 21 August at 8.15pm

George Mpanga is the 24 year old Cambridge-educated wordsmith who has attracted attention and accolades with his socio-political verse and urban beats. Mpanga presents Search Party, his first collection of verse brimming with his trademark mix of wit, honesty and rhythm to articulate the voice of a new generation.

Buy tickets at

Bus Stops, Cul-de-sacs and Rutted Tracks: Urban to Rural in Spoken Word
Sat 22 Aug 2015 at 10.30am

Spoken word is often labelled as ‘street poetry’ but are the boundaries between the territories of urban and rural poets as sharp as we imagine? This event celebrates the contradictions and expectations of place in spoken word and all the characters therein. Travel through a range of landscapes with sharp-witted and evocative performances from Luke Wright, Deanna Rodger, Mike Garry and Will Burns.

Buy tickets at
or email for a chance of one of two pairs of free tickets for the above event.

The Poems of Iain Banks: Poems by Iain Banks and Ken MacLeod
Sun 23 Aug at 2.15pm

Two years since his death, Iain Banks’ work could hardly feel more relevant, more alive. Now, fans of the Scottish writer can discover a previously unknown Iain Banks in a series of poems he wrote as a young man. Fellow science fiction writer Ken MacLeod has prepared a selection of Banks’ best early verse alongside some of his own in a collection called, simply, Poems.

Buy tickets at
or email for a chance of one of two pairs of free tickets for the above event.

J O Morgan: Poetry Performance – At Maldon
Sun 23 August at 7.30pm–9.00pm

Breathtaking, moving and viscerally affecting, Borders-based J O Morgan’s epic poem At Maldon rivals Alice Oswald’s Memorial and Christopher Logue’s War Music in its stunning evocation of the experience of war. Today Morgan performs his epic from memory.
Buy tickets at

Liz Lochhead: An Hour with Scotland’s Makar
Wed 26 Aug at 5.00pm

A hugely accomplished playwright as well as Scotland’s current Makar (National Poet), Liz Lochhead discusses her new play, Thon Man Molière, her fascination with the great French comic dramatist and his oeuvre, Greek tragedy, Schnitzler’s La Ronde and throws in a few as-yet uncollected poems from her Makar years among old favourites from her Selected Poems, A Choosing.

Buy tickets at
or email for a chance of one of two pairs of free tickets for the above event.

Simon Armitage: Walking on the Beaches
Thu 27 Aug at 5.00pm

One of Britain’s best-loved and most accomplished performers of poetry, Simon Armitage walked the length of the Pennine Way for his prize-winning Walking Home. Now he’s followed up that success with a walking adventure round the coastal fringes of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Armitage recounts his adventures in Walking Away, and today he shares some of his finest poetic moments from the odyssey.

Buy tickets at

Innu Poetry from the Canadian Tundra: Unique Scotland-Canada Collaboration
Sat 29 August at 11.00am

Three writers from the First Nation Innu people of Northern Canada present their work alongside three Scotland-based poets. In this collaboration, Anna Crowe, Rachel McCrum and J L Williams have worked with Joséphine Bacon, Natasha Kanapé Fontaine and Naomi Fontaine to interpret the Innu-aimun verse and text and produce new work in English, comparing experiences of life in countries that are far apart, but on a very similar northern latitude.
Buy tickets at

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