Tag Archives: StAnza 2010

Seamus Heaney, 1939-2013

1 Sep
StAnza 2010 In Conversation event

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

The death of Seamus Heaney has prompted tributes from all over the world: it is indeed rare to see a poet’s passing command the front pages of newspapers and dominate the internet and social media the way his has done. For those of us at StAnza he will be particularly missed. His second appearance at the festival in 2010, after a gap of ten years, was one of the most memorable ever. He and the late (also much missed) Dennis O’Driscoll brought humour, grace and wit to their performances and to the festival atmosphere in general. Heaney said at the time that he had an especially ‘deep connection’ with St Andrews and with the poetry audience there.

His is a great loss, for family, friends and to poetry.

Much has already been published about the life and work of Heaney including this Guardian obituary. We will be posting a full appreciation soon about the poet’s involvement with StAnza and St Andrews, from Brian Johnstone, former Festival Director.

In the meantime here is a recent recording by Heaney himself, reading the beautiful poem Postscript, which captures so well the preciousness and transcience of life:

http://www.rte.ie/archives/2013/0830/471296-seamus-heaney-postscript/

Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition

22 Apr
 
Vicki Feaver at StAnza 2010

The fourth Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition is currently accepting entries at www.edwinmorganpoetrycompetition.co.uk.  Prize money totalling £6,600 is offered and this year’s judges are Vicki Feaver, who read at StAnza 2010, and Kona McPhee who took part in this year’s festival last month. The closing date is June 10th, 2011 and the prize giving at the Edinburgh International Book Festival is scheduled for 17th August.

Kona McPhee at StAnza 2011

Shooting ten portraits of poets in a day inspired me!

11 Mar

StAnza’s Artist-in-Residence this year is the photographer Dan Philips. Here he explains how how his project came about and why the photographer’s interaction with the sitter is so important.

It was about this time last year that I first became aware of StAnza. Having photographed the previous Director Brian Johnstone, in his home, I became intrigued and so spent a day in the company of the poets last year.

And it inspired me. Shooting ten portraits in a day it struck me how this kind of photography – more than any other – is about developing relationships. Your sitter can either collaborate with you, co-operate, enjoy the process and suggest ideas, or they can resist against it, be uncommunicative, or simply feel pushed for time. And the irony is that the latter can be as productive for pictures as the former. One of my best images from last year was of Linton Kwesi Johnson in his dressing room before his performance. He’d agreed earlier in the day, but the shoot being mere minutes before him going on stage, he was obviously pushed for time. I think the tension shows in his face and I love the picture.

So my residency is about bringing this relationship to the fore. After shooting each portrait I’ll ask each sitter to perform an ‘intervention’ on the printed image. I’ll give them some pens and what they do is up to them. They can ‘respect’ the image, or they can mock it.

And with StAnza being so clued up online those that can only visit for a day or two will be able to see the continued works on the StAnza Flickr stream, on Twitter, and on this blog.

You can see some of Dan’s previous work, including the portrait of Linton Kwesi Johnson, here.

Poetry at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

13 Aug

 

Get your poetry fix at the EIBF this month. New director Nick Barley asked one of Scotland’s premier poets Don Paterson and the Scottish Poetry Library to advise on selections for the Poetry Programme and the line-up is stunning.

Four of the six poets shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize are appearing: Seamus Heaney’s event is sold out but tickets for Jo Shapcott, Robin Robertson and Sinead Morrissey were still available a few days ago.

Also on the roster are Simon Armitage, Paul Muldoon John Glenday, Carol Ann Duffy (reading from her forthcoming collection, The Bees), Jackie Kay, John Stammers, Ron Butlin, StAnza’s own former Director, Brian Johnstone, Kathleen Jamie (in conversation with Jonathan Bate), Douglas Dunn and Mandy Haggith (on Norman McCaig). Kei Miller, our Poet in Residence last March, is also taking part. Click here for full programme and booking details.

Kei Miller at StAnza 2010

And check out the festival’s innovative – and free –  Unbound evenings at the Highland Park Spiegeltent, which will feature a poetry night on Thursday 19 August. Expect the unexpected…

Teeing off?

23 Jul

 

Hello!  Welcome to the first post of StAnza’s brand new blog.  For those of you who haven’t come across us before, StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival takes place every March in the historic town of St Andrews, Fife.

StAnza's hub venue, The Byre Theatre, St Andrews

StAnza is a celebration of live poetry in all its forms and is as renowned for its warm welcome and intimate atmosphere as for the world class poets it attracts. Few festivals can match its unique mix of over 80 events, many involving music, visual art, comedy and performance. For more background info about StAnza, look at our About section, and to sample the highlights of StAnza 2010, visit our website’s  2010 Afterword page which features photos, reviews, and podcasts. 

Angela McSeveney

A Cabaret lunchtime event at StAnza 2010 with Angela McSeveney

Our regular blogs will keep you up to date with StAnza’s activities outside the main festival – we have some fantastic events lined for later this year – and we’ll let you know what’s being planned for 2011. We’ll also pass on the latest news from the poetry world and about the poets, writers and musicians who are associated with the festival. Or if you prefer, you can follow us on Facebook where we have a page and a group, or on Twitter.

StAnza takes to the fairways

Poetry and golf proved to make a winning combination during the British Open Championship which was held in St Andrews last week, attracting over 200,000 golf fans.  With the eyes of the sporting world focused on Fife, we were delighted to be asked to stage showcase performances in the Open’s Tented Village. The line-up featured some of the poets who appeared at our festival, supported by StAnza regulars. We opened with StAnza 2010′s poet in residence, Kei Miller, whose much heralded new collection, A Light Song of Light, is now out from Carcanet.

Following Kei, we also had Kevin Cadwallander, Angela McSeveney, Anna Crowe and Eddie Gibbons. Delivering poetry at The Open was rather a surreal experience for us, but an enjoyable one – we certainly engaged with a very different audience. I don’t know if anyone managed a hole in one, but no-one got hit by a golf ball.

The Open Golf Championship, St Andrews 2010

A hole in one?

StAnza has had encounters with golf before. When Sharon Olds came to StAnza in 2004, she read a side-splitting poem about golfers, inspired by watching them play from her hotel window during her stay here. In 2003, we arranged a six month residency for Roddy Lumsden at the St Andrews Bay Golf Resort and Spa. More recently, Andrew Greig read his lovely golf poem, ‘A Long Shot’, at our 100 Poets Gathering, an event arranged to celebrate our 10th anniversary in 2007.  Long may this unique relationship between poetry and golf continue!

 

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