Tag Archives: MUSA

Beautiful but Deadly

20 Apr
Reproduced courtesy of the University of St Andrews

Reproduced courtesy of the University of St Andrews

This year at StAnza we collaborated with MUSA (the Museum of the University of St Andrews) on an installation featuring artefacts from Commonwealth countries held by the museum and poems about them commissioned by StAnza specially for the festival. The poems and images of artefacts in ‘A Common Wealth of Artefacts’ were projected in the Byre foyers during the festival and at the same time MUSA posted them on their blog. We are pleased now to be re-posting these articles on the StAnza Blog, and here is the second of them featuring a poem by Kiri Piahana-Wong, who is a New Zealander of Māori (Ngāti Ranginui), Chinese and English ancestry. She is a poet, editor and publisher whose first poetry collection, Night Swimming (Anahera Press), was published in 2013.

Museum Collections Blog

Today’s object is a type of stone club called a patu onewa used by New Zealand Māori in hand-to hand combat.

Patu Onewa Patu Onewa

Inter-tribal warfare was common in New Zealand in the early 19th century, but before Europeans arrived, Maori did not use projectile weapons, such as bows and arrows. Instead, patu were used, with a thrusting motion to attack the enemy’s upper body, or to finish off an enemy with a downward blow to the head.
Patu onewa were usually made from a hard volcanic rock such as basalt, through a painstaking process of hammering, grinding and polishing until they were perfectly finished, resulting in a beautiful but deadly object. You can see here that the club handle has been perforated to accommodate a wrist strap for the warrior.

Our example dates from the 19th century and was donated to the University by the Reverend John Thomson around that…

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A Common Wealth of Artefacts.

14 Feb

One of our collaborations this year with MUSA connects with our 2014 theme of A Common Wealth of Poetry. When we learned that MUSA (the Museum of the University of St Andrews) had a collection of fascinating artefacts from a range of Commonwealth countries, we set out to find poets willing to provide a short poem in response to each of these. The first to agree, and to provide a poem, was Chris Gilpin from Vancouver, Canada. The artefact to which is is responding is now on show at MUSA in St Andrews and he has provided a sound file of his poem to accompany this. You can listen to the poem at MUSA, while admiring the item to which it responds, or listen online at https://soundcloud.com/stanzapoetry/birch-basket-behind-glass-by. Other artefacts which feature in the collaboration come from Tonga, Zambia and India. Images of the artefacts and all the poems responding to them will be on show as part of A Common Wealth of Artefacts, a digital installation at StAnza in March.

More MUSA poems ….

6 Apr

Check out MUSA’s blog at http://museumoftheuniversityofstandrews.wordpress.com/ for more of the poems on display following their collaboration with StAnza this year.

Even more mysterious at MUSA

28 Mar

StAnza at MUSA, photo credit Amy Dale/Musa

Some weeks ago our guest blogger Amy Dale from MUSA (the Museum of the University of St Andrews) invited poems responding to some of the objects from the Museum’s collection, and some of the resulting poems are now on show at MUSA, scattered through the cases to encourage visitors to take a good look round to find them all. The Museum can be found at 7a The Scores,St Andrews, the opening hours are presently 12 noon to 4.00pm Thursday to Sunday but once we move into April, their longer summer opening hours begin. And don’t miss checking out the wonderful views out over the sea at the back of the Museum.


10 Feb

Museum of the University of St Andrews

We’ve got together this year with MUSA, the Museum of the University of St Andrews  to offer poets the chance to write about some of the special objects on display. MUSA Curator Amy Dale explains:

Surprisingly, this year will be the first time we work in partnership with StAnza to help celebrate the upcoming poetry festival. As part of Scotland’s International Poetry Festival we are inviting people to contribute alternative labels for objects on display in MUSA. We have picked five items from the collection, which we hope will inspire you to write a short poem. Go to our Blog at http://museumoftheuniversityofstandrews.wordpress.com/  to view the items. The best entries will be made into labels and displayed next to the object. We haven’t given much background information about the items as we want your imagination to run wild.

  • submit poems by email to  ad458@st-andrews.ac.uk
  • Poems should be a maximum of six lines so they fit in the display cases.
  • Please write in your email which object you were inspired by

We are really pleased to be part of such an exciting festival and look forward to reading your creative entries. If anyone would like further information about any of the objects to inform their writing please contact me on the email address above.

Amy Dale, MUSA Collections Curator

Reblogged from http://museumoftheuniversityofstandrews.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/stanza-2012/

Be inspired at StAnza’s festival workshops and classes

7 Jan

StAnza’s educational theme, Poetry by Degrees, has given us the chance to expand on opportunities for creative practice. The festival programme is packed with workshops, inspirational sessions and opportunities for both new and experienced poets to develop their work. The festival’s other main theme, The Image, will provide the impetus for both these practical events and for talks and discussions centred on the craft and the study of poetry. The theme is also part of the celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the University of St Andrews. Lavinia Greenlaw will be leading an all-day workshop at Balmungo House. Kwame Dawes (pictured) and John Glenday will be leading workshops respectively on poetic language and imagery. Glenday is a tutor at Moniack Mhor, the Scottish base of the Arvon Foundation, which is forming an outpost at StAnza 2012. Dawes is connected to the creative writing programme at the University of South Carolina. David Morley, founder of the University of Warwick writing programme, will be leading the StAnza Masterclass, which offers selected poets the chance to have their work discussed. Jo Bell, Director of National Poetry Day, will be heading a workshop on the power of using the negative.

To kick start the writing process, there are daily Inspire sessions at the Byre Theatre and lunchtime ‘Musings at MUSA’: a series of sessions at the Museum of the University of St Andrews, where writers are asked to respond to a treasure trove of artefacts from astrolabes to kaleidoscopes, all associated with the university. Both these events are free and participants are encouraged to submit copies of any resulting work for future display.

All this plus a range of chances to perform your work at open mics, the StAnza slam and music nights.

Find out more about these interactive events here. Tickets for StAnza go on sale next week, 11 January.

Photo of Kwame Dawes by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

StAnza is part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012.

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