Tag Archives: Alvin Pang

Relive StAnza 2013 – in words and pictures

1 Jul

Luke Wright/Chris Scott


St Leonards Folk Group/Chris Scott

Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone sums up perfectly the unique experience of StAnza ’13 in her Afterword just published on our website: ‘even the weather didn’t spoil the enjoyment.’ Add to that, she says, Gillian Clarke’s lecture on the day that Wales played Scotland, a dash of tartan noir from Robin Robertson’s ‘sepulchral’ toned reading, the pairing of Mark Doty and Erin Moure, 70 poets, plus musicians, artists and filmmakers…and you have the best festival ever.

Yes we had venues to rearrange, and it rained and it snowed, but as the photo coverage of our Afterword page shows, the festival was busier than ever, and more poetry was found out and about in St Andrews than ever before.

Stitched & Spoken ‘poetry dresses’/Anja Hertenberger

Yes, our Afterword page has just gone live with a gallery of photographs taken at the events, the venues and around town. It  is the work of our wonderful team of volunteer photographers who all gave their time, talent and boundless energy to covering the 100 plus events that made up this year’s festival.

In the festival hub

In the festival hub/Jiye Lee

Check out who was at the festival, get a sense of the atmosphere and if you weren’t there – now you know what you missed!

Reviews and Interviews section: Catch up on the reviews and interviews by clicking on the links in our page, which features interviews (courtesy of SPL and Culture Laser) with poets such as George Szirtes, Gillian Clarke, Erín Moure and Alvin Pang.

Jacob Sam-La Rose/Al Buntin

Jacob Sam-La Rose/Al Buntin

Meantime StAnza lives on around town

Some of the exhibitions and installations from StAnza 2013 in March have been extended into and over the summer. Dualism, Chris Park’s quirky photographs of poets, will be on show at Fairmont St Andrews, just outside town, until September. And in town you can see some of our poetry texts on windows at St Andrews Wine Company on Bell Street, Cherries on South Street, and at the Bus Station.

Next year’s StAnza takes place 5-9 March at St Andrews

Listen again to the best of StAnza: festival podcasts

5 Jun
Erín Moure

Listen again to Erin Moure at StAnza
/Photo Credit: Chris Scott

If you missed out on StAnza this year or want to listen again to some of our wonderful poets. You can listen on our podcast page here to interviews with (and short readings by) George Szirtes, Alvin Pang, Hannah Silva, Gillian Clarke, Erin Moure and Ken Babstock. The podcasts were made by our friends at the Scottish Poetry Library and Culture Laser who visited the festival, recorders in hand, back in March. 

Hubbub at the Hub: StAnza in pictures

10 Mar

Chris Scott, Literary Paparazzo, has been taking pictures at StAnza 2013, which has shaped up to be one of the best festivals ever, despite the upheaval of finding new venues at the eleventh hour. See for yourself!

Alvin Pang at the launch ceremony, MBSB

Alvin Pang at the launch ceremony, MBSB/Chris Scott

RiverRun on stage

RiverRun on stage/Chris Scott

Our new hub, the Town Hall has been busy and convivial and the festival as exciting as ever. The Supper Room has been the place to meet and hang out. Many conversations over coffee or a glass of wine…

In the Supper Room

In the Supper Room//Chris Scott

And there was a welcome return to the legendary Aikman’s for the first Poetry Cafe of the festival with ace performers Rob Barratt and Ghostboy:

Ghostboy at Aikmans

Ghostboy at Aikmans/Chris Scott

Elsewhere the Poetry Market was in full swing and the bookstalls were busy in the hallowed space of All Saints Hall:

Poetry Market, All Saints Hall

Poetry Market, All Saints Hall/Chris Scott

Sally Crabtree, Poetry Postie and purveyor of cakes,at the Market

Sally Crabtree, Poetry Postie and purveyor of cakes,at the Market/Chris Scott

These are just a few of Chris’s photos and a taster of StAnza 2013. Look out for more soon – we will post here – and on our other social media. StAnza’s busy  team of photographers have also been busy covering  festival events and StAnza activities around St Andrews. Look out for their work on our website’s AfterWord section in a couple of weeks.


Weekend Poetry Breakfast talks: join the webcasts

9 Mar
Artist Carry Ackroyd

Artist Carry Akroyd

Our weekend Poetry Breakfasts will be broadcast live on the Internet for those not fortunate enough to be here to enjoy them in person. You can watch the discussion panels on the StAnza USTREAM channel at 10am-11am on today and tomorrow, where you can also post your questions to be put to the panellists.

Today poets Mandy Haggith and Andrew Forster join academic David Borthwick and artist Carry Akroyd to discuss how poetry engages with nature ; while Sunday’s Breakfast will focus on the issues and art of poetry translation, featuring poets Alvin Pang, Erín Moure, and Eurig Salisbury alongside publisher Angela Jarman.

If you would like to pose a question to the panellists during one of the Breakfasts,
. . . . tweet your question to @StAnzaPoetry, using the hashtag #StAnza13webcast

James T Harding: Only Connect – The StAnza Festival Launch, RiverRun, Twitter & Supper Room

7 Mar

Writer James T Harding on how open discussion is at the heart of what StAnza stands for.

One of the central themes of this year’s festival is ‘Legacy and Place’, and already a lively conversation is growing around the interconnectedness of different places. As well as the more expected linguistic and cultural connections, people have been discussing music, science, and even economics in terms of poetry and poetic interchange.

Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales, kicked off both the debate and the festival at the packed StAnza Festival Launch on Wednesday night. In medieval times, she said, Welsh was the main language spoken in Fife. This year’s Welsh poetry focus is about the encounter between two poetic traditions (not to mention two rugby teams), but perhaps it’s the similarities rather than the differences that will be the most apparent – and the most inspiring.

Lesley Riddoch

Lesley Riddoch (Credit: Chris Scott)

Responding to this, Lesley Riddoch threw away her prepared speech for the launch and instead talked to us about her Welsh surname, about how etymology shows us the huge distances travelled by words, and about how the Medical and Biological Sciences Building of the University of St Andrews has toilets flushed by rainwater. (That last one isn’t relevant to this post really, but interesting nonetheless.) She characterised poets as “custodians of connection”, finding and recording the moments of recognition between people and cultures that give us so much pleasure.

After the launch, we processed across the MBSB into the lovely North Haugh Theatre for The RiverRun Project. Curated by Liam Carson, the project consists of music, photography and poetry evoking a voyage through the city of Dublin past and present. Again, interconnection was the word of the moment, with poet Biddy Jenkinson explaining how Oliver Cromwell accidentally created a cultural melting pot in Dublin, in which writers and thinkers from all over Ireland and the rest of the world converged, festered in the Black Dog Prison, and wrote some stunning poetry. Meanwhile, haiku by Gabriel Rosenstock and portraits of places and people from Máighréad Medbh and Colm Keegan took the audience from Dublin’s society women and gang culture to Japan and back again.

Later that night, Lesley took this idea of the ancient interconnection between Wales and Scotland to Twitter, sparking a debate to which everyone was able to contribute whether they were in StAnza or not.

Alvin Pang

Alvin Pang (Credit: Chris Scott)

Singaporean poet Alvin Pang, who attended the launch to read an excellent poem about long-haul air travel, took these ideas about interconnectivity away with him and mulled them overnight. I found myself at a table with him, Sean Borodale and Ron Butlin over lunch in the Town Hall’s Supper Room, and we talked about how our economic situations are more tied in with the rest of the world than ever before. In particular, how the bubble of late-capitalist wealth moves on from country to country at a moment’s notice. That sounds a bit dry, but I promise it was a fun conversation at the time! Also, I wanted to show off about the company I keep at lunch: only at StAnza can you have a pint with multiple T.S. Eliot Prize nominees in one day. 😉

As you can see, we’ve all had a lot to enjoy and digest so far at StAnza – and we’ve only started…

Erín Moure

Canadian poet Erín Moure, StAnza’s Poet in Residence, also read at the Launch, adding to the international flavour. (Credit: Chris Scott)

The point I want to pull out of all this is that StAnza is a bit of a melting pot in itself. The questions raised by Gillian Clarke and Lesley Riddoch in their opening speeches have been echoed, answers, synthesised and argued over throughout the festival, by people from St Andrews to Singapore. This happens in the official events and in the social spaces like the Supper Room in the Town Hall, but also online, through the boisterous #StAnza13 hashtag, @stanzapoetry, on Facebook and through the live Poetry Breakfast panel webcasts. Everyone is interconnected at StAnza – be that in person or online

James is available for interconnecting online and at @empowermint. Watch out for more StAnza blogs by him as the week winds onwards.

World Poetry Summit

19 Jun

 The World Poetry Summit takes place on Tuesday 26th June at the Southbank in London, as part of their Poetry Parnassus festival.  StAnza’s Festival Director, Eleanor Livingstone is taking part in a session entitled Unlimited Possibilities: e-Poetry and Virtual Festivals, Literature in the Digital Era. That this coincides with the build-up to StAnza’s first Digital Slam via Twitter and other online media, is not so much a coincidence as an indication of how involved StAnza is with digital media nowadays. This is just the latest project which follows on our use of digital media at our spring festival in March, including a Skyped contribution from Shetland at one panel discussion, and the live streaming of four further events during the festival.

The speakers at the World Poetry event next Tuesday also include Alvin Pang from Singapore and Nikola Madzirov from Macedonia, a StAnza 2012 poet, and the event will be Chaired by Sarah Ellis, the Digital Producer at the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Further programme details are as follows:

Unlimited Possibilities: e-Poetry and Virtual Festivals – Literature in the Digital Era

Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall

12 noon – 1pm

The description for the event encourages people to: “Find out about some of the most exciting digital projects ranging from animoetry to translation collaborations and Silent Poetry Slams to virtual festivals.” And Unlimited Possibilities: e-Poetry and Virtual Festivals, Literature in the Digital Era is just one event in a day-long programme at the World Poetry Summit, which also has sessions on topics such as elitism in poetry, and translation. Full details can be found online at the Poetry Parnassus website.

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