Tag Archives: Scotland

Relive StAnza 2013 – in words and pictures

1 Jul

Luke Wright/Chris Scott


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

Enjoy a taste of Fife at the Crail Food Festival

8 Jun
IMG_6165-300x200If you enjoyed the local food and drink on offer this year at StAnza 2013, you should check out the Crail Food Festival. Now in its third year, the festival takes places in Crail on 15 and 16 June, and it is a great way of discovering the fabulous food of Fife.
On Saturday 15 June around 30 local food businesses will take over Crail Community Hall. The Indoor Market will give visitors the opportunity to sample local produce with many of the producers creating special tasting platters for the festival. A food trail in the village will help visitors find other businesses to visit.
On Sunday 16, Crail’s harbour will host an open air Harbour Festival. A lobster shack, a convertible Land Rover serving up local delicacies, a smoothie-making bike, and a pizza oven in a horse box are just some of the street food offerings available. Cookery demonstrations and games for the children will keep the crowds entertained while Fife’s favourite foods will be on offer.

Listen again to the best of StAnza: festival podcasts

5 Jun
Erín Moure

Listen again to Erin Moure at StAnza
/Photo Credit: Chris Scott

If you missed out on StAnza this year or want to listen again to some of our wonderful poets. You can listen on our podcast page here to interviews with (and short readings by) George Szirtes, Alvin Pang, Hannah Silva, Gillian Clarke, Erin Moure and Ken Babstock. The podcasts were made by our friends at the Scottish Poetry Library and Culture Laser who visited the festival, recorders in hand, back in March. 

Exclusive ticket offers for East Neuk Festival

2 Jun

thingOne of the highlights of summer in Fife is the East Neuk Festival, 3-7 July, which combines an exciting and innovative musical and literature programme with wonderful venues, from exquisite churches to beautiful gardens. Nature is even more to the forefront this year, as the East Neuk Festival celebrates birds and birdsong. In its music programme there are masterpieces by Beethoven and Ravel as well two pieces by the outstanding Alaskan composer, John Luther-Adams. Its Littoral programme, curated by Catherine Lockerbie and Jenny Brown, aims to inspire, enquire and explore through writers and writing. This year, Littoral brings some of the finest nature writers from across the UK to join highly distinguished local authors to reflect on how we observe and interact with our environment.  The Festival has offered StAnza special ticket prices for the following Littoral and Music events:

LITTORAL: £5 tickets (instead of £10) for people quoting: ENFStAnza5

Thursday 4 July  | 18:00hrs  | Largo Kirk  | GAVIN FRANCIS

Adventurers including Alexander Selkirk, immortalised as Robinson Crusoe, are associated with this historic kirk, so it’s a fitting place to hear Fife-bred explorer Gavin Francis. After a year as doctor to the British Antarctic Survey, he speaks eloquently of a world of ice, silence and Emperor penguins.

LITTORAL: £10 (instead of £15) for people quoting: ENFStAnza10

Saturday 6 July  | 14:30hrs  | Cambo House and Estate  | CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP WITH LINDA CRACKNELL

Join experienced author and tutor, Linda Cracknell, in a workshop including forays outdoors into the beautiful Cambo Estate. Aimed at both new and experienced writers, the workshop will inspire you to explore your own associations with landscape through writing.

LITTORAL: £5 tickets (instead of £10) for people quoting: ENFStAnza5

Sunday 7 July  | 11:30hrs  | Crail Church Hall  | A SILENT SUMMER?

Join in a highly topical discussion with some of our leading authors and thinkers. Fifty years after Rachel Carson’s seminal Silent Spring warned of the threats to our environment, what now are the dangers, and the signs of hope and success? Speakers include TC Smout, Sir John Lister-Kaye and Esther Woolfson.


London Conchord Ensemble

MUSIC: £10 tickets (instead of £15 & £12) for people quoting: ENFStAnza15 (for £15 to £10 tickets) and ENFStAnza12 (for £12 to £10 tickets)

Thursday 4 July  | 11:30hrs  | Cellardyke Church  | Wit Mystery and Youth 

London Conchord Ensemble

Poulenc: Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon, Messiaen: Abîme des Oiseaux, Mozart: Sonata for Cello and Bassoon K292, Janáček: Mladi 

London Conchord Ensemble’s clarinetist is none other than SCO principal, Maximiliano Martín. He plays solo Messiaen and features in youthful Mozart and Poulenc, both full of wit and brilliance. Janáček, ebullient and spry in his 70s, looks back to his own schooldays in one of his most uplifting works, Mladi.

MUSIC: £10 tickets (instead of £15) for people quoting: ENFStAnza15 

Friday 5 July  |  20:00hrs  | Cambo Barn  | The Tallis Scholars

John Taverner: Missa Corona Spinea

Thomas Tallis: Lamentations of Jeremiah

In their 40th Anniversary year, The Tallis Scholars bring masterpieces of the Renaissance to East Neuk. Taverner’s mass has the sweeping glory of Kings College Chapel: he was the greatest English composer of Henry VIII’s time, and his mass settings are magnificent choral spectaculars – vast and dramatic. Tallis’ Lamentations are profound, timeless – a great contrast.

MUSIC: £10 tickets (instead of £15) for people quoting: ENFStAnza15 

Sunday 7 July  | 17:00 hrs  | Cambo Barn Closing Concert 

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Christian Zacharias, conductor

Messiaen: Appel Interstellaire; Ravel: Ma Mère L’Oye (Suite); Beethoven: Symphony No 6 “Pastoral”

Cambo Barn invites something a little out of the ordinary so you are invited to take a journey in music from deepest space to the natural world right outside the venue. Zacharias conducts a perfect programme to close the 2013 Festival.


Hub Tickets: +44 (0)131 473 2000 / www.hubtickets.co.uk. These offers apply to telephone and online bookings and in person at Hub Tickets, The Hub, Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NE. To take advantage of these special ticket offers, you must quote the references given above.

For more details about the East Neuk Festival programme, visit their website.

StAnza 2014 to be part of Homecoming Scotland

28 Mar

No sooner have we taken down the banners and packed away for this year’s festival than it’s time to start thinking about the next!  And our 2014 festival will be very special indeed.

StAnza, we can now reveal, will be taking part in Homecoming Scotland 2014, a countrywide celebration which the First Minister, Alex Salmond, officially launched  yesterday at Hopetoun House, Edinburgh. With 100 events announced, and more to come it is going to be an action packed calendar. Next year, of course, Scotland will also host both the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.

StAnza will be held next year from 5-9 March and is making its own Homecoming contributions as part of its festival programme – more will be revealed in the next few months. Suffice to say for now that we will be looking at what the concept of ‘home’ means to poets in Scotland and beyond. One of the festival’s themes will be A Commonwealth of Poetry and there will be a focus on Poetry in Motion, all to celebrate through poetry the Commonwealth Games and Scotland’s cultural connections with the Commonwealth. Follow us on this Blog, on Facebook and Twitter for more developments.

First Minister Alex Salmond is joined by representatives from Homecoming 2014 events

First Minister Alex Salmond is joined by representatives from Homecoming 2014 events/photo VisitScotland

VisitScotland and EventScotland are working in partnership with the Scottish Government to deliver Homecoming 2014 – it will be an opportunity for communities nationally and internationally to explore Scotland and celebrate the very best of Scottish culture. The celebration will cover five themes: active, food and drink, creative, natural and ancestry and among the brand-new events planned are the John Muir Festival in East Lothian to herald the opening of the John Muir coast to coast route (Muir,who hailed from East Lothian, founded America’s National Parks), the Forth Bridges Festival to mark its 50th anniversary, a spectacular Ryder Cup Opening Concert, the Findhorn Bay Arts Festival in Moray, the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, the first World Sheepdog Trials in Tain and the European Festival of Brass based in Perthshire. 

Find out more about these and other planned events at http://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/homecoming-scotland-2014/

Keep up with Homecoming news on Twitter: #homecoming2014


‘I’m more interested in the edges of a place than the heart’: Harry Giles maps out a Scottish identity

25 Feb
Harry Giles at StAnza's Edinburgh Preview, January 2013/Chris Scott

Harry Giles at StAnza’s Edinburgh Preview, January 2013/Chris Scott

Harry Giles is a poet and performer, founder of the Edinburgh spoken word collective, Inky Fingers. Brought up in Orkney, he now is based in Edinburgh, but his mind is on many other places, as his guest blog reveals. He will be performing at StAnza’s lunchtime Poetry Cafe on 8 March.  One of StAnza’s themes this year is Legacy and Place

I’m thinking about what Scotland is more or less every day. There’s a referendum coming, after all. I’m trying to work out what the lines on the map mean, or might how we might be choosing to redefine them. I’m trying to work out if it matters more to me to be on this side of the line or that side of the line. For me, place (and the legacy of place) is all about borders.

I grew up in Orkney to English parents – the family moved when I was two years old – so I’ll always be an incomer to my own home. I’ve known no other home but Orkney, but the playground spent a decade reminding me that it still wasn’t really mine, and my voice continues to speak the same reminder. I grew up trying to work out which side of the border I stood on, or whether I could just ignore it. And Orkney, of course, is a strange part of Scotland to start with – sort of Scottish, sort of not, and definitely and justifiably sceptical of them down in Holyrood.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that when I came to put together my first book of poetry – a wee pamphlet called Visa Wedding from Stewed Rhubarb Press – that the poems started to congregate around the borders. I was trying to write my way through my identities, as many poets are. My tongue has grown more Scottish over the years, and my heart has too, though I’ve given a lot of both to America as well. Sometimes writing poetry is less about answering the question,“What do I want to say?” as it is about just asking “How do I speak?”

As I do, the pamphlet jumps between the English that colonised Scotland and the mongrel/magpie Scots that colonised Orkney. The poems’ places are spread between islands and cities in Scotland, England and America. The legacies of one place are written into poems about another. Most of the poems, in some way, are about a border crossing – a roadtrip, a mistranslation, sex, body piercing, the meeting of tongues.

Sometimes, when I read another poets’ nature poetry, or poetry about place, I’m astonished at how secure and assured the language can be. Poems where the writer wholly identifies with a place and gives themselves over to it. I love these poems, but I’m not sure I could ever write one – without one true home to be secure in, I’m not sure I can write unproblematically about anywhere at all.

I think I want to vote to change what the border of this country means. Anti-nationalist and anti-state, I use justifications like “regional governance” and “preserving the vestiges of welfare state socialism”, but I worry that it might be something more personal, more gut. I’d like to live somewhere more definite. I’d like to be able to place a cross in a box that says, definitively, who I am and where I stand. I feel like, to the good, I’m taking part in a huge series of national conversations about what this place is. And while I figure out where the cross goes, while I’m still hopping back and forth across borders, I’m glad that I get to write poems about it, too.

Check out Harry’s website and blog here

Photo by Chris Scott

Get ready for the StAnza Digital Slam! Starting 29 June

15 Jun

During StAnza back in March, one of our followers on Twitter commented that it would have been nice to have been able to attend our Open Mic in person and to make up for it, sent us a poem online.

The festival has a reputation for developing ideas for online events. With a Skype slam and a day-long digital festival, Distant Voices, in our back catalogue, the opportunity had come to try something new and different. Out of one small tweet, an idea was born.

While the Olympic torch was wending its way through Scotland this week, we thought we should get into the spirit of things and launch a competition for poetic champions, such as our friend on Twitter, to take part in. So StAnza is holding a brand new digital slam competition to start on 29th June. There’s plenty of time to polish those poems and limber up the vocal chords for our online alternative to traditional open mics and slams.

We will be announcing more details nearer the time, but here’s an outline of what’s involved – as competitions go, it’s unique:

To enter, all you have to do is record an audio/video file of your poetry performance and upload it onto YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, AudioBoo or other online platform. Then send a URL to our designated email address, which we will make available from 29th June to 6th July.  So put that date in your calendar.

Our judges will then make a shortlist and these entries will be posted on the StAnza blog for the online audience to view and then cast their votes, using our dedicated voting link. Voting will be from midday 13 to midday 16 July. The winner will be announced on 16 July and we will post the winning recording on our blog, along with a second one on 20 July. In the spirit of slams the world over, we will award a mystery prize that will be of little monetary value but totally covetable. And we will showcase the winner’s two recordings on all our other media platforms.

We’ll post full entry details – rules and stuff – next week, so keep checking the blog and our social media!

You can follow this event on Twitter via @StAnzaPoetry and/or #DigitalSlam and Facebook

%d bloggers like this: