Tag Archives: Luke Wright

A feast of poetry at the EIBF

14 Aug

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is now under way and there is plenty for poetry lovers to enjoy.  If you’re quick, you can get along to sample today’s showcase of new poets while later in the month there’s a chance to see Liz Lochhead,  Jackie Kay, Robin Robertson and Luke Wright, who have all appeared at StAnza  to great acclaim. Also not to be missed is a reading by the great US poet Kay Ryan, David Campbell’s story of traveller Duncan Williamson, the launch of the new Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize, Andrew Greig’s retelling of a border ballad, ‘Fair Helen’ and the poems and music of the Egyptian revolution.

Details for some of the events are below. Click here for the full line up of poetry events and to book tickets.

Miriam Gamble, Sam Riviere & Jo L Walton
21st Century Poetry
Wednesday 14 August 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre
£7.00, £5.00

Dear World & Everyone In It is a new anthology announcing the best young voices of British poetry. Stylistically innovative, thematically challenging, always creative and often surprising, it’s a unique collection presenting the work of 60 poets. Editor Nathan Hamilton presents a selection of the work in this event: Sam Riviere with his debut 81 Austerities, Jo L Walton and Miriam Gamble.

Jackie KayJackie Kay & Matthew Kay
Poetry and the Fight for Human Rights
The Amnesty International Event
Friday 16 August 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Baillie Gifford Main Theatre
£10.00, £8.00

Jackie Kay’s new poems about asylum seekers in Glasgow point up the importance of artistic and cultural contributions to political life. In this event Kay discusses her work with her filmmaker son Matthew Kay. He recently took a British football team to Palestine, where poetry is also a vital part of the culture of resistance, and today he shows an extract from the extraordinary documentary he made.

Andrew Wilson
Plath Before Hughes
Friday 16 August 5:00pm – 6:00pm
ScottishPower Studio Theatre
£10.00, £8.00
Before she met Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath had lived a complex, creative and disturbing life. Following her death in 1963, Hughes was the guardian and literary executor of her work and was, in effect, responsible for how she has been perceived by generations. Andrew Wilson explores the woman before the haunting poetry and sensational relationship that so greatly changed our cultural landscape.

K_1469_fsMichael Pedersen & Luke Wright
Poems Like Pointing Fingers
Friday 16 August 8:30pm – 9:30pm
Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre
£7.00, £5.00
A new breed of poets is storming the spoken word scene and entertaining a generation for which Big Brother is a reality TV show as well as an Orwellian literary invention. Michael Pedersen, co-organiser of Edinburgh live poetry night Neu! Reekie! reads from Play with Me, while Essex-born Luke Wright, whose 5-star performances have wowed Fringe-goers, performs from his joyful new tome, Mondeo Man.

Robertson,Robin_credit Niall McDiarmidRobin Robertson
I Steer Towards Catastrophe / Then Write About it
Sunday 18 August 10:15am – 11:15am
The Guardian Spiegeltent
£10.00, £8.00
Hill of Doors is Robin Robertson’s sixth poetry collection and his most powerfully assured yet. In its verse, he dives deep into the complexities of the human condition and then rains depth charges down upon himself. Robertson splices the sensitive and the brutish; mixes the mythical with the real; and in the process he confirms that he’s a superstar of Scottish poetry. Free coffee, courtesy of Prestige Scotland

LAUNCH OF A NEW PRIZE FOR POETS IN SCOTLAND: THE EDWIN MORGAN TRUST EVENT

Sunday 18 August

6:45pm – 7:45pm

Peppers Theatre

£10.00, £8.00

Three years after his death in 2010, Edwin Morgan’s memory burns brightly. In accordance with Morgan’s wishes, a major new prize for Scottish poets is announced at the Book Festival to build upon the previous poetry competition run in Morgan’s name. In this event chaired by Liz Lochhead, previous winners – Jen Hadfield, Paul Batchelor and Jane McKie – read their work and discuss the challenges of putting together a first collection.

Kay Ryan
Former US Poet Laureate
Sunday 18 August 5:00pm – 6:00pm
ScottishPower Studio Theatre
£10.00, £8.00
Kay Ryan is widely regarded as one of America’s great living poets. Her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems won her the Pulitzer Prize in 2011, and she was the US Poet Laureate from 2008-2010. However, despite the plaudits, Ryan is no creature of the establishment: she once said ‘it’s poetry’s uselessness that excites me.’ She joins us to read some of her work.

David Campbell & Linda Williamson
Reigniting a Traveller’s Tale
Monday 19 August 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Writers’ Retreat
£7.00, £5.00
David Campbell’s subject is Duncan Williamson, born in a Loch Fyne tent in 1928, surrounded by storytellers and musicians. A Traveller in Two Worlds tells of Williamson’s remarkable life (he had two wives, ten children and wrote many stories) and the attempts to get his work about the traveller community to a wider public. Campbell is joined by Linda, Williamson’s second wife and an ardent activist in keeping his memory and writings alive.

b90442e0Andrew Grieg & Rachel Newton

Reimagining Border Ballads

Saturday 24 August

8:30pm – 9:30pm

ScottishPower Studio Theatre

£10.00, £8.00

Stirling-born writer and poet Andrew Greig returns with a new publication inspired by the history and landscape of Scotland. Fair Helen is a retelling of a 16th century Border Ballad, ‘Fair Helen of Kirkconnel Lea’. Inspired by the tradition of sung narrative ballads, Greig is joined by acclaimed musician Rachel Newton, who performs several songs and provides fiddle accompaniment to Greig’s reading from his new novel.

Poetry from the Egyptian Revolution
Poems and Music in Tahrir Square
Sunday 25 August 8:30pm – 9:30pm
ScottishPower Studio Theatre
£10.00, £8.00
At the heart of the Egyptian revolution were the events in Tahrir Square. During the riots, Amin Haddad wrote poetry which the protestors spoke or sang together for moral support. Haddad joins us from Cairo with members of the revolutionary band, Eskenderella, whose musical rendering of Haddad’s poems gave support to the protestors. They reprise – in a rare European appearance – the verse that was the immediate response to the uprising.

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Relive StAnza 2013 – in words and pictures

1 Jul
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Luke Wright/Chris Scott

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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

StAnza slam: Kate Palfrey

25 Mar

Since ‘slam papi’ Marc Kelly Smith established it in Chicago in 1986, the poetry slam has revelled in its youth like a teenager in an unmade bed, bright and beautiful and slightly ragged round the edges. Wrestling to combine beautiful words with a disorganised schedule, transcendent flights of metaphor with the obligatory knob joke, and stage fright with stage presence, slam poets are as ballsy and brave now as they have ever been.


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Especially at Stanza 2013.  Building on a strong tradition of great atmosphere and a deep pool of talent, this year’s slam was good fun. Stanza regulars such as Robin Cairns, Sally Evans and Colin McGuire (all of whom were finalists) served up with pace and lyricism a smorgasbord of piquant poetry, leaning firmly but not too heavily on that standard of the slam, the tower of metaphor that gets more obnoxious and precarious as the lines mount up. Tracey S Rosenberg and Harry Giles, familiar and treasured voices here in St Andrews, similarly lived up to reputation, with more daring and perhaps more refined work. that didn’t quite score the points from the “Darwinian death match” judges ( – a trio of young men laconic, acerbic, witty, gleeful).

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MC Luke Wright (back), with the judges (l-r), Luke Kennard, Tsead Bruinja and Jon Ramsay 

It was, I think, the St Andrews’ home-grown Inklight delegates who stole the show. Unpolished but powerful, a little inexperienced, but with a lot of guts, Youkang Jun, Trevor Wallace and Harshad Sam had home-turf advantage and a bevy of supporters. Winner Carly Brown, current Inklight president, has poise, lyricism, passion and humour  – delivered with a balance and grace that we see in modern giants like Shane Koyczan, current darling of the TED talks phenomenon. Carly and her megawatt-smile-burning-gaze-and-blazing-verse combo will go far.

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And the winner is…

All this was MC’d with youthful vigour and consummate style by Luke Wright, “the best young performance poet around” (The Observer). Intelligent, with tried-and-tested rhythm and the pace we expect from an experienced performer, Wright spearheaded the evening – a figurehead (his hairstyle is something of a statement) of panache. We enjoyed his dulcet Essex tones and the Anglo-centric humour of pieces like ‘Nigel Farridge’, particularly as a foil to the majority Scots and American participants.

So thank you, slammers, for having the guts and the grammar to give us a riotous evening. Keep rhyming, keep the rhythm, keep the passion.

Kate Palfrey is a member of StAnza’s organising team and she had the tricky job of being the Scorekeeper at the Slam.

Photos by Chris Scott

StAnza 2013 – tickets go on sale!

10 Jan
StAnza 2013 pages in the new Byre brochure just out

StAnza 2013 pages in the new Byre brochure just out

For those who like their StAnza listings on paper, you’ll have to wait just a little while longer for the full brochure, but the Byre Theatre’s own new brochure is just out with their usual spread of StAnza’s Byre events, so allows a little paper browsing.

Of course the full details are available online (with a few last events just being added) at www.stanzapoetry.org, and tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday 14th January.  Details are as follows:

StAnza Box Office:
The Byre Theatre,
Abbey Street, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9LA, Scotland
tel: 01334 475000 fax: 01334 475370

Booking: tickets on sale on Monday 14th January 2013

Box Office open
Before festival: from Monday to Saturday, 10am–5pm (or 7pm on theatre show nights).
During festival: daily 10am–8pm from 6-10 March 2013

Purchase online: (Link from StAnza website or go direct to the Byre’s own website at www.byretheatre.com)
By phone, in person or on line: payment by Visa or MasterCard.
By post: cheques made out to The Byre Theatre.
Concession prices: available to senior citizens, school pupils, students, disabled & unemployed.
Families: family tickets for children’s events admit up to four people (must include at least 1 child & no more than 2 adults)
Early bird discount: 30% off all tickets (full price or concession) purchased on or before 4 February 2013.
Bulk purchase: 30% off tickets bought for 8 or more events.
Disclaimer: please note, bulk purchase and special discounts are not applicable along with any other discount offer.
Free events: for free events, just turn up; all exhibitions are free.

We know from the laments of those who were unsuccessful that there’s always a push to obtain tickets for the more intimate events with limited seating, so this year we’ve added a second all day workshop at Balmungo, to give some more people a chance at getting tickets, and there are also three morning workshops, and six Round Table events.  So good luck at getting all the tickets you want. Most of our headliners, including this year Mark Doty, Paula Meehan, John Hegley, Robin Robertson, Gillian Clarke, Liz Lochhead and Luke Wright, are performing in our larger venues, where there should be no difficulty getting tickets at this time. And of course there are as many free events as well, making StAnza the festival you can enjoy without breaking the bank.

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