Tag Archives: Colin McGuire

The SPL at StAnza 2014

21 Feb

JL WilliamsEach year StAnza collaborates in ways big and small with the Scottish Poetry Library, this year with the appearance at StAnza of Tanya Shirley. Jennifer Williams, the SPL Programme Manager, shares her thoughts about StAnza 2014.

I so enjoyed the StAnza Preview at tell it slant Poetry Bookshop in Glasgow on 6 February. (http://tellitslantbooks.com/2014/01/21/stanza-glasgow-2014-preview-mirrorball-seamus-heaney-event/)

What a pleasure to find myself at a delightful poetry bookshop, packed with people (standing room only by the time I got there) eating beautiful food from the café, drinking wine and chatting up a word storm, surrounded by shelves of poetry books and magazines. tell it slant is ‘popped-down’ for the moment but hopefully soon to return as a permanent fixture in Glasgow.

I love StAnza previews because they always seem to have the buzz about them that makes StAnza so delicious – full of poets and poetry lovers, everyone in a jolly frame of mind and talking about what they’re looking forward to and what they’re loving in the poetry world. This event was just as fabulous, with readings from SBT New Writers Award winner Kathrine Sowerby, poet Alexander Hutchison on WWI poet David Jones and Colin McGuire wringing peals of laughter from the delighted crowd.

Less than 30 minutes in total, it was a tantalising taster of what’s to come, and boy is the menu packed for the three days I’ll be in St Andrew’s in early March.

I’ll be doing podcast interviews with StAnza readers Sujata Bhatt and Brian Turner, catching as many events as I can fit in and catching up with as many folks as I can. The SPL will have a table brimming with Poetry Readers and poetry postcards for everyone to pick up and enjoy, and if it’s not quite as snowy as last year I might even make it down to the beach for an invigorating walk (though perhaps not a dip!). I can’t wait to hear our Commonwealth United Poets visitor Tanya Shirley in action (http://commonwealthpoetsunited.com/2014/01/30/commonwealth-poets-united/) and Ron Silliman, John Burnside, Tishani Doshi, Rob A Mackenzie, Richie McCaffery, the wonderful Tomica Bajsić who I met at the 2013 Berlin Poesiefestival… the list goes on.

When I first came to Scotland years ago I ventured to StAnza on my own, knowing no one in St Andrew’s and hardly anyone in Scotland; just for one day, just to see one poet – David Constantine. I was so awed by the reading he gave that I came home and wrote him an admiring letter, to which, to my surprise, he generously responded. I treasure that letter, his poems and his stories and it feels like a fabulous circle has swung round to connect itself, with me heading to StAnza this year to see David Constantine again – but with a few more friendly faces to say hello to this time. Hope to see you there and do come and tell me all about what it is you’re reading, writing and loving this year.

Jennifer Williams, Programme Manager
Scottish Poetry Library, February 2014

You can follow the SPL blog at http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/blog

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Edinburgh and Glasgow Preview Events for StAnza 2014

22 Jan

Gerda StevensonFor those of you who like to hold it in your hands, to flick through poetry and take a spoonful of events with each cup of coffee, the StAnza brochure for 2014 is almost ready and will be available fresh from the printers at this year’s programme previews.

The first of these free public events takes place at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EW on Wednesday 29th January at 6pm, and as ever we’re very grateful to the NLS for their support. There will be short readings from two of this year’s festival poets, Diana Hendry and Gerda Stevenson. All this, plus some music from Edinburgh’s own John Sampson, who will be accompanying Carol Ann Duffy at her events in March, and a round-up of some of the festival highlights. It promises to be a delightful hour of entertainment and if you’re in the Edinburgh area, be sure not to miss it. It’s a free event but please book a seat by calling 0131 623 3734 or via the NLS web page at http://www.nls.uk/events/booking.

The following week the StAnza Roadshow rolls into Glasgow. We’re thrilled that the Tell it slant poetry bookshop at 134 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6ST will be hosting a preview event for us in collaboration with St Mungo’s Mirrorball, as part of an evening of poetry. The StAnza preview will take place on Thursday 6th February at 6.30pm lasting half an hour, with taster readings from some of the Glasgow poets on this year’s programme, Alexander Hutchison and Kathrine Sowerby, and some spoken word from Colin McGuire.

Then there’s the chance to take a short walk up Rose Street for Mirrorball’s Seamus Heaney celebration hosted by the Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, Robyn Marsack. She will be in conversation with award winning novelist and short story writer Bernard MacLaverty on his personal reflections of the life of the Nobel Prize winning poet, including a reading of some of his own favourite pieces by the great man, starting at 7.30, Glasgow Art Club, 185 Bath Street, Glasgow.

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