Tag Archives: Robin Cairns

StAnza 2013 is here!

1 Dec
Mark Doty (photo by Starr Black)

Mark Doty (photo by Starr Black)

It has been quite a week for StAnza. Our Poetry Café night at our favourite Coffee and Juicing Bar, Zest in South Street, was the opening event for the St Andrews Festival currently taking place. Rab Wilson was supported by an international line-up of local poets taking to the open mic, all dished up with complimentary haggis stovies. And stovies were a support act again yesterday when Robin Cairns featured in our lunchtime event for St Andrews Day in partnership with Food from Fife, all as part of the St Andrews Food Fair.  

Meantime, while all this has been happening, we’ve been working hard to get the feast of poetry which is the core programme for StAnza 2013 prepared, cooked, garnished and served up for St Andrews Day. So, if you’ve been eager to hear what’s in store for next March, all is now revealed. Just click here or go to our website at www.stanzapoetry.org to view more than 200 pages about the events and the poets, visual artists, musicians, writers and others taking part.

 Tickets don’t go on sale until early January so you have a whole month to browse and make decisions about which events you want to see. And the programme isn’t complete yet. We’ll be adding a few more events and names over the next month so keep checking the online programme for the latest update.

Poetry Café reprise with Robin Cairns

28 Nov

Robin Cairns at StAnza 2012 (photo by John Starr)

As the St Andrews Festival continues, on Friday 30th – St Andrews Day itself – as part of the St Andrews Food and Drink Festival, StAnza are collaborating with Food from Fife on a lunchtime Poetry Café session, Wake Up and Smell the Stovies, with the irrepressible performance poet Robin Cairns offering his brand of tasty bites to give the session a special poetic savour. This is another free event, this time in the Supper Room at the Town Hall in Queens Gardens, starting at around 1.00pm.

And it’s not only the St Andrews Festival this week, it’s also Book Week Scotland, the first national celebration of books and reading (26th November – 2nd December 2012). Glasgow is hosting the first Book Week Scotland Pop-up Festival on Saturday 1 December at the Mitchell Library, with a packed programme for all ages, and a 2 for 1 offer* on all ticketed events.

Events include:

* Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Offer applies to tickets for the same show bought in advance. To get the 2 for 1 offer, please quote BT100 when booking your tickets:

Poetry Café in St Andrews this week

19 Nov

Rab Wilson

StAnza is helping to organise a couple of great events in St Andrews for this year’s St Andrews Festival.  On Friday 23rd November, the popular Scottish poet Rab Wilson will be the star attraction for a Poetry Café evening at Zest Juicing and Coffee Bar on South Street. Zest will have an in-house licensed bar for the evening, and there will be open mic slots if anyone wants to bring along their own poems. Free snacks will also be on offer – we’ve even heard murmurings of a repeat of the stovies which were so popular at our early evening open mic event there last year. The event kicks off at 7pm, and it’s free, so just come along.

Then on St Andrews Day itself, Friday 30th November, as part of the St Andrews Food and Drink Festival, StAnza are collaborating with Food from Fife on a lunchtime session, Wake Up and Smell the Stovies, with the irrepressible performance poet Robin Cairns offering his brand of tasty bites to give the session a special poetic savour. This is another free event, this time in the Supper Room at the Town Hall in Queens Gardens, starting at around 1.00pm.

StAnza on film: the story behind our 2012 documentary

22 Aug

On 20 August, StAnza officially launched its new documentary film of this year’s festival. The film has recently been previewed on YouTube, Facebook and has been uploaded on StAnza’s website, but this was the first time it had been screened in front of a live audience: during the ‘St Andrews Year of Celebration’ showcase at Creative Scotland, Waverley Gate.

The project had its beginnings when Eleanor Livingstone, Director of StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival commissioned the filmmaker Daniel Warren to make a short documentary of the 2012 festival. The festival is grateful for the help of EventScotland who provided funding.

‘We wanted to capture the essence of the festival on film, to give a flavour of how lively and diverse it can be, in the stunning setting of St Andrews,’ Eleanor says. ‘With our vibrant hub at the Byre Theatre, StAnza has a unique, welcoming atmosphere and the film is a visual record of that.’

Daniel came to St Andrews for the festival (which took place 14-18 March) and, with the assistance of Ishbel Beeson, filmed poets in live readings and performances, on stage and behind the scenes. He interviewed poets, artists, musicians and festival-goers, took in the sights and sounds of the town itself and the result was an intriguing insight into the festival.

The film is structured as ‘a day in the life of StAnza’, opening with the arrival of visitors at the rail station of Leuchars. The camera takes the viewer around town and through many events from art exhibitions, an open mic in a local café, to centre stage readings and performances and talks by, among others, Jackie Kay, Jo Bell,  actor Karen Dunbar, Kwame Dawes, Tony Curtis and Robin Cairns. As the sun goes down, the party atmosphere at the Byre gets – literally – into full swing with music from the Mending Hearts Trio.

Poetry turns up in unexpected guises: on Poetry Digest’s biscuits and bananas, as labels attached to whisky bottles in Ken Cockburn and Alec Finlay’s collaboration, The Road North, and slowly appearing under the chisel of patient stone carver John Neilson. Then there’s the bartender who bursts into a recitation of Tam O’ Shanter; poetic ‘Clanger speak’ from Andy Jackson during the launch of his TV and film inspired anthology, and slam champion Robin Cairns. The film shows how poetry can inspire other art forms, and become by turns humorous, experimental, crowd pleasing, celebratory and thought-provoking.

Eleanor Livingstone says of the film: ‘The title is taken from a story told by Jackie Kay during her performance. Her son, on hearing that his mother was “going out to the poetry’’, used to ask where this place called poetry was. StAnza – and St Andrews – she joked was certainly one of these places. The film successfully captures the humour, charm and the sense of community created by StAnza and by St Andrews.’

You can view the film on StAnza’s website: http://www.stanzapoetry.org/

StAnza scores a victory at Cyber Slam

12 Sep

The  stakes were high, but StAnza won yesterday’s brilliant Poetry Cyber Slam. Click here to see the results. The team comprised Milton Balgoni as MC, Robin Cairns, Claudia Daventry, Ali ‘Harlequinade’ Maloney and Kevin Cadwallender. The team from Melbourne’s Overload Poetry Festival was led by Santo Cazzati as MC, with Ezra Bix, Benjamin IQ Sanders, and two poets, Graham and Andrea, who had come through during earlier heats in Melbourne.

Ezra Bix

Melbourne's Ezra Bix performs.

Round one gave the poets a chance to show off their best work and Kevin Cadwallender’s ‘Dalek’ poem (with Dalek impersonation) went down a storm with the Melbourne and St Andrews audiences. Round two was themed around respective countries, making for some great jokes about stereotypes, and round three was a team effort, providing the poets with a new challenge.

While Scotland and Australia are used to competing on the rugby field, the prospect of a Skype Slam between poets from both nations opened up all sorts of exciting possibilities, not least being able to webcast vibrant live poetry to a world audience. We are waiting for the confirmed numbers of those who followed the event online but they look to be healthy. Comments made via Twitter praised the quality of the webcast and of the poetry performed.

Sticking to that sporting theme, now that StAnza (and Scotland) have taken poetry’s equivalent of the Ashes, a rematch could well be in the offing…

StAnza v. Melbourne Cyber Slam

4 Sep

Hard to believe, but there’s just a week to go until the StAnza Cyber Slam, our latest digital event and, after months of planning, the final arrangements have been made.

On 11 September, our team of top performance poets will be pitting their wits against their counterparts at the Overload Poetry Festival in Melbourne, Australia. It will be a fast and furious poetry slam performed live and via Skype.

The StAnza Cyber Slam takes place between midday and 1.15pm (BST) at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews, and simultaneously at Overload in Melbourne (9pm-10.15pm in Australia). The teams will be cheered on by audiences at their respective venues and the performances webcast, so viewers from round the world can follow the action online.

StAnza’s line up will be familiar to festival goers and performance fans:  Milton Balgoni as MC, Kevin Cadwallendar, Robin Cairns, Claudia Daventry, and Alasdair Maloney (of the Chemical Poets). They’ve all been sharpening their skills at the festivals in Edinburgh and elsewhere this summer, so expect some verbal fireworks.

Melbourne’s team includes two award-winning international slammers: Ezra Biz and Benjamin ‘IQ’ Sanders. We’ll be joining them on the opening night of the Overload Poetry Festival, which has a history of holding innovative digital events. So it’s great to have the chance to link up with them.

If you can’t make it to the venue to cheer the teams, you can follow the slam live online at http://www.stanzapoetry.org

StAnza poet Claudia Daventry is on the Cyber Slam team

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