Tag Archives: HappenStance Press

Coming up soon in St Andrews

23 Mar
Paul Muldoon at StAnza 2014, photograph by Helena Fornells

Paul Muldoon at StAnza 2014, photograph by Helena Fornells


If you’re gloomy at the thought of waiting a whole year before StAnza comes round again, here’s some cheering news about poetry events coming up over the next few months.

Toppings bookshop in Greyfriars Gardens are planning a series of monthly poetry events on the first Tuesday of the month. This is what they say about them:

“Taking place on the first Tuesday of each month, Topping Tuesdays will be relaxed evenings of poetry readings and conversation, offering the chance to explore and discuss the work of some of the best poets on the contemporary scene. Our host is Don Paterson of the University of St Andrews, one of the most dynamic and critically acclaimed British poets writing today, a winner of the Forward, Whitbread and T S Eliot Prizes. We are delighted that he’ll be bringing his warmth and expertise to a regular showcase of poets – an array to satisfy the most varied of tastes! £5 or £3 Scholar.”

The first of these Topping Tuesday events takes place on Tuesday 7th April at 8pm when Annie Freud, who made a big impression at StAnza some years back, joins Don Paterson, reading from her own work and discussing her poetic craft.

Then on Tuesday 21st April at 5.15 in the Lawson Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English, The Scores, the acclaimed Mexican poet Pedro Serrano will give a talk in St Andrews on TS Eliot and Octavio Paz, drawn from his study The Making of the Modern Poet, followed by a short reading from his own work, with English translations by Anna Crowe.

He will also give a reading in Edinburgh the following day, April 22, at 6.30 pm, at the Word Power bookshop, 43 – 45 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DB. This will be in Spanish and English, and based on the poet’s book, Peatlands (Arc Publications 2014), a bilingual edition with translations by Scottish poet Anna Crowe.

Both events are free. For more information on the Word Power reading, call Word Power Books on 0131 662 9112 and there’s more about the St Andrews event at https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/…/newsandeve…/thenglishseminar/

Following that comes the next event at Toppings on Tuesday 5th May when Jacob Polley will take part with screenwriter and actor Jonathan Durie.

The Toppings programme continues with Paul Muldoon on Tuesday 19th May; Michael Pedersen & Lorraine Mariner on 2nd June; and on 4th August An Introduction to HappenStance Press and J. O. Morgan.

You can get more information on the events at Toppings on their website at http://www.toppingbooks.co.uk or by telephoning 01334 585111 or emailing standrews@toppingbooks.co.uk.

Top picks and pix post-festival

22 Mar
StAnza 2015 launch, photo by www.alistairkerr.com

StAnza 2015 launch, photo by http://www.alistairkerr.com


“SAnza for me always helps usher winter into the dark, and marks a door opening into the bigger light of spring.”

With so many wonderful things already said or written about StAnza 2015 it’s hard to pick favourites but this quote from Gerry Cambridge’s Facebook post has to be amongst them.

Two weeks on and with the sun still shining and spring well and truly sprung, here at StAnza HQ we are still recovering from the wonderful buzz of the festival, so we have our feet up and a cup of tea in one hand as with the other we browse through the reviews and photographs which are piling up. A full Afterword with galleries of photographs and links will follow in due course – including, fingers crossed, the text from Glyn Maxwell’s sell-out lecture – but meantime we thought you might enjoy a sample of photographs plus links to various articles, reviews and blog posts already brought to our attention. If you know of more, do let us know. If you were at this StAnza this year we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and thanks for coming to be part of it. If you didn’t make it this year, here’s just a glimpse of what you missed. And there’s always next year. Meantime, before the links, here’s another quote, this time from Kei Miller:

What an incredible festival StAnza continues to be! An overwhelming experience all around, the readings, the friendships, the wine – but the moment that I think will stay with me, the moment when for some inexplicable reason I choked up and had to look away, was the moment when the Catalan poet Josep Lluís Aguiló talked about the ‘small’ language he wrote in: ‘I have no choice in the matter’ he said, and then turning to his translator continued with such astounding vulnerability, perhaps unintentional but so to the point of it all…. ‘I am in your hands.’

And so to the links. First of all, here’s a brilliant video collage of images from the opening night, from photographer Alistair Kerr.

StAnza 2015 opening night video by Alistair Kerr

The inspiring StAnza poetry festival: The Scotsman review by Susan Mansfield

Risk A Verse, photo by Helena Fornells

Risk A Verse, photo by Helena Fornells

Review of StAnza 2015: Scotsman review by Susan Mansfield

Why we need more poetry events like StAnza, by Charlotte Runcie in The List

Kei Miller comes home, by Charlotte Runcie in The List

StAnza 2015 – Simon Armitage, one of Britain’s best, by Charlotte Runcie in The List

StAnza 2015 – Helen Mort, by Charlotte Runcie in The List

StAnza 2015: Mothers Day – why we need more great writing about being a mother, by Charlotte Runcie, The List

At the festival hub, by Alice Roberts

At the festival hub, by Alice Roberts

The Ferocity of Festivals by Helena Nelson

StAnza Poetry Cafe with Owen O’Neill, by Paul Thompson, The Mumble

StAnza Poetry Cafe with Erin Fornoff, by Paul Thompson, The Mumble

StAnza Body Searches, by Paul Thompson, The Mumble

Stepping it out at the festival finale, photo by Terry Lee

Stepping it out at the festival finale, photo by Terry Lee

StAnza Border Crossing, by Paul Thompson, The Mumble

StAnza Poetry Cafe with Torok & Campion, by Paul Thompson, The Mumble

StAnza 2015, by Elizabeth Rimmer, Burned Thumb

StAnza 2015, by Colin Will, Sunny Dunny

StAnza 2015 erasure, the FCA&C blog

StAnza 2015, by Sarah Hymas







Meet the Bloggers

22 Feb

Screenshot 2015-02-22 11.30.15As regular readers will know, this Blog goes into overdrive each March reporting on what’s happening and making sure anyone who can’t manage along to St Andrews at least gets a flavour of the festival, not only of the poetry and poets (not to mention the visual art, music, drama and film), but also all the fun in between events. While the past year has been particularly lively for the StAnza Blog — which of course has been the main vehicle for our popular Poetry Map of Scotland — blogging has always been a regular feature at StAnza festivals.

As well as our in-house blogger, many other regular bloggers attend the festival and put up posts later of their own StAnza experiences. We often provide links to these posts on our Afterword Page, along with other reviews and articles about the festival.

So this year we are taking that all one stage further. We’re delighted to announce that, with support from EventScotland, we’ve invited two acclaimed bloggers to come to St Andrews to be Bloggers in Residence at StAnza 2015. And to make it a hat-trick, we’ve also recruited a local Young Blogger for this year’s festival.

Screenshot 2015-02-22 11.29.07Fiona Moore is a poet and reviewer. She blogs at http://displacement-poetry.blogspot.co.uk. Her chapbook, The Only Reason for Time from HappenStance Press, was chosen as one of The Guardian’s Best Poetry Books for 2013, and she was voted Best Reviewer in the Saboteur Review awards in 2014. Fiona’s first blog post about StAnza is now online at the above link.

Susanne Arbuckle’s website at www.adventuresaroundscotland.com was only established in 2014 but it has already become one of the leading Scottish travel blogs and is currently rated in the top ten Scottish Blogs (from all genres) in the UK.  She was one of the official bloggers for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 and Made in Scotland magazine has featured her as one of three ‘never miss’ Scottish Bloggers. Susanne’s first blog post about StAnza is online at www.adventuresaroundscotland.com/travel-blog

And we’re delighted to announce that James T. Harding is returning to the in-house team for another festival. As well as ghosting each March as StAnza’s own festival blogger, James is one half of Stewed Rhubard, a spoken-word poetry press which won the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award in 2013. He details his freelancing adventures in design and writing online at http://www.james-t-harding.com/

Winning Poems - anthology of past winnersErin Morrissey Gillman was a winner in the StAnza 2014 poetry competition for young people in Fife. She will be a guest blogger posting on the StAnza Blog.

So for more on what they find to report when they get to StAnza, be sure to follow their posts over the next few weeks.

Poetry Loops

26 Feb

Poetry LoopsEach year at StAnza we show a range of short poetry films. This year they will be showing in the Conference Room at the Byre Theatre from 10.00am-8.00pm from Thursday 6th March to Sunday 9th March. This installation is free and unticketed, so whenever you have a spare few minutes at the festival, you can take in a short burst of filmpoem. As ever this year’s selection offers a diverse range of what’s currently being produced. Here is what will be on offer.

Lifted is a poem about the intriguing nature of travelling uphill in a canal boat, written and read by canal laureate Jo Bell and realised as a filmpoem by the filmmaker and photographer Alastair Cook. It was commissioned as one of four canal-themed filmpoems by the Poetry Society in partnership with the Canal & River Trust as part of the Canal Laureate 2013 Project. Filmed in Stone, Staffordshire. Length: 3:42.

‘All water wants, all water ever wants, / is to fall. So, we use the fall to lift us, // make of water its own tool, as simple / as a crowbar or a well-tied knot’

The Black Delph Bride by Liz Berry is a dark and mysterious poem inspired by an original Victorian canal map of Dudley and the feeling of ghostliness that lingers across the canal network. The atmospheric film was made by Alastair Cook, a filmmaker and photographer commissioned by the Poetry Society in partnership with the Canal & River Trust as part of the Canal Laureate 2013 Project. The poem is read by the author, and was filmed in Dudley. Length: 3:13.

‘Black Delph, Black Delph, my girl she floats,/ her bridesmaids: eels and voles and stoats. // Snuff your lantern / Hear her sing’

Ian Duhig’s poem Grand Union Bridge returns to Paddington Basin, and the ‘old black canal’ of the poet’s adolescence. Full of transgressive glamour and a sense of a dark kind of magic, Alastair Cook’s filmpoem was commissioned by the Poetry Society in partnership with the Canal & River Trust as part of the Canal Laureate 2013 Project. The poem is read by the author. Length: 4:50.

‘Some winters, the Cut grew a glass skin: / you could see through it now, a window / on the film-maker’s alchemical darkroom.’

The Water Doesn’t Move, the Past Does is Ian McMillan’s canal poem, commissioned as one of four filmpoems by the Poetry Society in partnership with the Canal & River Trust as part of the Canal Laureate 2013 Project. Rooted in place and history, his poem explores the voice of a canal and aqueduct in Stanley Ferry, Wakefield. It was read by the author and filmed by Alastair Cook. Length: 2:31.

‘The aqueduct speaks / In the voice of round here: vowels / Flattened by hammers, words / Shortened like collier’s breath’

Lifted, The Black Delph Bride, Grand Union Bridge and The Water Doesn’t Move the Past Does were made for the Poetry Society by filmmaker and photographer Alastair Cook http://www.alastaircook.com

Commissioned by the Poetry Society, Evaporations is a new filmpoem by Alice Oswald and Chana Dubinski exploring water’s different states. The theme of National Poetry Day 2013 was ‘Water, Water Everywhere’ – this new work was commissioned to celebrate. Director of Photography Andrew Brown, Editor Richard Couzins. Filmed on location in Devon, with thanks to Riverford Organic Farms. Length: 5:56.

‘Yes Yes there is Ice but I notice / The Water doesn’t like it so orderly / What Water admires / Is the slapstick rush of things melting’

small lines on the great earth by filmmaker artist and filmmaker Edward O’Donnelly with poet and writer Malcolm Ritchie who lives and works on the island of Arran was filmed there in one day in short, condensed one-take sequences, echoing the brevity and spontaneity of each poem. Edward O’Donnelly’s previous work includes editing a series of short films documenting cultural links between Kolkata, India and Scotland with artist Kenny Munro. Titles: ‘Language of Rivers and Leaves”, linking Sir Patrick Geddes with Rabindranath Tagore. Malcolm Ritchie’s Poetry includes some small lines on the great earth and in these lines is my reclusion, both published by Longhouse Publishing, Vermont.

Two films by Alessandro Tedde, filmmaker and co-founder of the first open school of cinema in Italy of readings by two Italian poets, Giuseppe Bellosi and Nevio Spadoni. The first was filmed in the library of Sala d’Attorre, Ravenna before a public lecture, and the second was shot on the stage of Rasi Theater in Ravenna, the apse of a former church built in 1250. Both films were made exclusively to be screened at StAnza 2014. Alessandro Tedde’s first official short, Paths of Memory, was screened at various Italian festivals, and 2011 with his brother Francesco he created a project on seven DVDs about the Italian region of Romagna, its poets and its past.

A Poet’s Life is about Dutch poet Arnold Jansen op de Haar. In 1994, before the fall of the Srebrenica enclave he was on active service in the former Yugoslavia as the commanding officer of a UN unit. He left the Dutch Grenadier Guards in 1995 to become a full-time poet and columnist. He has been a columnist for more than ten years and writes a weekly column for Holland Park Press. His new poetry collection Loving Mercilessly (Meedogenloos Liefhebben) will be published in the autumn of 2014. The film was made by Holland Park Press which publishes literary fiction and poetry with emphasis on promoting Dutch authors to the English language world

Tasting Notes: Poet Matthew Stewart lives in Extremadura, Spain, where he works as the export manager and blender for a local winery, VinaOliva. In the film the poet reads poems amongst the vineyards. His collection Tasting Notes from HappenStance Press was launched in London at the Poetry Book Fair. It was a unique launch, in that the poetry about wine was delivered as the audience tasted the wine itself.

Ours thanks to The Poetry Society, Alastair Cook, Edward O’Donnelly, Malcolm Ritchie, Alessandro Tedde, Silvana Siviero, Matthew Stewart and Holland Park Press.

Tasting Notes: The Poetry of Wine

26 Oct

Viñaoliva Zaleo wines

The St Andrews Food and Drink Festival 2013 will run from 2nd November to 1st December. This year three StAnza events will form part of this. The first on 15th November, Tasting Notes: The Poetry of Wine, offers an evening of poetry and wine tasting.

Matthew Stewart is both a wine exporter and blender for the Spanish cooperative winery  Viñaoliva  and also a poet. His entertaining Tasting Notes published by Fife’s HappenStance Press in 2012 combines his knowledge and experience of wine with his own poetry.  In an event which brings a real taste of Spain to St Andrews, Matthew will read from this collection during a guided tasting and talk about the blender’s art, giving an introduction to four Extremaduran wines. There will be time for interaction and questions, as he introduces the wine of poetry, and the poetry of wine.  Guests will have the chance to taste four Zaleo wines (Pardina 2012, Rosado 2012, Tempranillo 2012 and Premium 2010) and food pairings of ham, bread and Spanish cheese.

The event will take place on Friday 15th November from 6.30-8.00 pm at Luvians Ice Cream Parlour, 84 Market Street, St Andrews KY16n 9PA.  Tickets for the event, to include four wines, tapas and a copy of Tasting Notes, cost £7.50 or £5.00 concession and can be purchased in advance online by clicking on this link.

For more information, email info@stanzapoetry.org

And watch this space for details coming soon on StAnza’s other events for the Food and Drink Festival, Surprise, Surprise, poetry and haggis with Alexander Hutchison and an open mic set for food and drink poems at Zest on 16th November, and our Delicious Poetry Workshop   with Gerry Cambridge on 26th November.





HappenStance’s Helena Nelson: Sign up for her StAnza’s workshop at Edinburgh’s Just Festival

23 Jul

stanza-bannerThe Edinburgh festival season is upon us, and StAnza has been invited once again to present an event at the Just Festival, formerly the Festival of Spirituality and Peace.

This year we are arranging a workshop, which will be led by Helena Nelson, the acclaimed poet, editor and publisher of HappenStance Press. Her theme will be ‘Getting Poems Published (how to increase the chances of success with magazine editors and publishers)’. A must for poets and would be poets, this is a great chance to analyze where you are now, where you want to be, and how best to get there.

The venue is the Quaker Meeting Room, 7 Victoria Terrace and the event is on 8th August, 3-5pm. Booking details at the Just Festival’s website here.

Books and prizes

28 Jul


StAnza poets shortlisted for poetry prizes

Heading this year’s shortlist for the Forward prize for his new book Human Chain is Seamus Heaney, a great friend of StAnza who delighted audiences at his sell-out events with us in March.  

Dennis O'Driscoll in conversation with Seamus Heaney at StAnza 2010

And our heartfelt congratulations to Andrew Philip, whose book, The Ambulance Box, has been shortlisted for the new Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry. Andrew took part last November in ‘Distant Voices’, our first ever digital festival. Click here for the full prize shortlists. And here to catch up on Distant Voices. Check our blogs, Facebook and Twitter for news of digital events to come.

Andrew Philip reads at Distant Voices, 14 November 2009

HappenStance Launch

The latest HappenStance Press publication is Gill Andrews’ The Thief, which was launched in St Andrews last Monday. Gill, who is finishing a Creative Writing MLitt at St Andrews, took part in this year’s Inklight reading at StAnza and in one of our showcases at The Open and we’re pleased to note the arrival of her first chapbook collection.

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