Tag Archives: Tishani Doshi

StAnza 2014 in words and images

2 Sep


So what were Rob Mackenzie’s 20 Moments from StAnza 2014? Why did time stop in the Undercroft for Helena Nelson? What did Tishani Doshi say about dogs, death and St Andrews in her column for the New Indian Express? And why did Ellen McAteer recommend attending StAnza as “the best thing you will do”.

As we approach the halfway mark between this year’s festival and next year’s, what better time to reflect on the popular and critical success of StAnza 2014.
The Afterword page is now live on our website at http://www.stanzapoetry.org/2014/afterword14.php. As ever there are galleries of photographs – a mixture of programmed events and all the encounters and experiences which always happen at StAnza in-between and around events – plus links to videos and podcasts from the festival and a wide range of articles and reviews, including those mentioned above. So if you were at this year’s festival, you can re-capture a flavour of it, see who else was there, get a sense of the atmosphere; and if you weren’t there, now you know what you missed!

Cypress Well (Jim Causley & Lukas Drinkwater), photographer Helena Fornells Nadal

Cypress Well (Jim Causley & Lukas Drinkwater), photographer Helena Fornells Nadal

Here at StAnza HQ we’ve hugely enjoyed reading all that’s been written about the festival, the articles and reviews, and also your feedback via the questionnaire forms you obligingly complete for us. We love to read how StAnza was for you and to learn that it is a favourite festival for so many. ‘A vintage year’ people said, perhaps with reference to the contemporary circus show with which we opened this year, or maybe Paul Muldoon’s final reading for the festival, or even the party which followed. Here are just a few of the other comments made:

‘Wonderful event, warm, friendly, relevant, provocative and held in a beautiful place.’

‘The festival was fantastic, I can’t imagine any better atmosphere for poetry than the one you so perfectly created.’

‘The breadth of vision of StAnza is good for us all!’

‘An annual treat – a feast of poetry in a wonderful setting.’

‘Truly international and an inspiring event. It’s a really important part of the poetry calendar.’

And as well as reading about StAnza, you can listen to podcast interviews with some of the poets who took part, including Brian Turner and Tanya Shirley, or watch video interviews with artist Lucilla Sim and Gill Plain who spoke in March about women’s poetry from WWI.

Tanya Shirley book signing,  photographer David Vallis

Tanya Shirley book signing,
photographer David Vallis

Our strand of events in recognition of the centenary of WW1 included David Constantine’s lecture on The First World War at Home and Abroad, about which many of you commented. We are therefore very pleased now to have been able to include a link to the text of this on the Afterword page on our website at http://www.stanzapoetry.org/2014/afterword14.php

Next year’s StAnza takes place 4-8 March at St Andrews.

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The SPL at StAnza 2014

21 Feb

JL WilliamsEach year StAnza collaborates in ways big and small with the Scottish Poetry Library, this year with the appearance at StAnza of Tanya Shirley. Jennifer Williams, the SPL Programme Manager, shares her thoughts about StAnza 2014.

I so enjoyed the StAnza Preview at tell it slant Poetry Bookshop in Glasgow on 6 February. (http://tellitslantbooks.com/2014/01/21/stanza-glasgow-2014-preview-mirrorball-seamus-heaney-event/)

What a pleasure to find myself at a delightful poetry bookshop, packed with people (standing room only by the time I got there) eating beautiful food from the café, drinking wine and chatting up a word storm, surrounded by shelves of poetry books and magazines. tell it slant is ‘popped-down’ for the moment but hopefully soon to return as a permanent fixture in Glasgow.

I love StAnza previews because they always seem to have the buzz about them that makes StAnza so delicious – full of poets and poetry lovers, everyone in a jolly frame of mind and talking about what they’re looking forward to and what they’re loving in the poetry world. This event was just as fabulous, with readings from SBT New Writers Award winner Kathrine Sowerby, poet Alexander Hutchison on WWI poet David Jones and Colin McGuire wringing peals of laughter from the delighted crowd.

Less than 30 minutes in total, it was a tantalising taster of what’s to come, and boy is the menu packed for the three days I’ll be in St Andrew’s in early March.

I’ll be doing podcast interviews with StAnza readers Sujata Bhatt and Brian Turner, catching as many events as I can fit in and catching up with as many folks as I can. The SPL will have a table brimming with Poetry Readers and poetry postcards for everyone to pick up and enjoy, and if it’s not quite as snowy as last year I might even make it down to the beach for an invigorating walk (though perhaps not a dip!). I can’t wait to hear our Commonwealth United Poets visitor Tanya Shirley in action (http://commonwealthpoetsunited.com/2014/01/30/commonwealth-poets-united/) and Ron Silliman, John Burnside, Tishani Doshi, Rob A Mackenzie, Richie McCaffery, the wonderful Tomica Bajsić who I met at the 2013 Berlin Poesiefestival… the list goes on.

When I first came to Scotland years ago I ventured to StAnza on my own, knowing no one in St Andrew’s and hardly anyone in Scotland; just for one day, just to see one poet – David Constantine. I was so awed by the reading he gave that I came home and wrote him an admiring letter, to which, to my surprise, he generously responded. I treasure that letter, his poems and his stories and it feels like a fabulous circle has swung round to connect itself, with me heading to StAnza this year to see David Constantine again – but with a few more friendly faces to say hello to this time. Hope to see you there and do come and tell me all about what it is you’re reading, writing and loving this year.

Jennifer Williams, Programme Manager
Scottish Poetry Library, February 2014

You can follow the SPL blog at http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/blog

Tickets now on sale for StAnza 2014

17 Jan

banner 14 Tickets are now on sale for StAnza 2014, in person, by phone and online. Full box office details are online at our, or telephone VisitScotland on 01334 474609. The printed brochure will be available from late January and you can request a brochure by emailing brochure@stanzapoetry.org or phoning 01334 474610, if you’re not already on our mailing list.

The festival, which takes place in St Andrews, lasts for five days from 5th to 9th March 2014 and features almost 100 events, many of them free – a diverse range of performances, readings, music, drama, talks, workshops and a masterclass, open mic events, films, exhibitions and installations. This is the place to hear your favourite poet, discover new voices, meet other poets, writers and publishers and enjoy the energetic buzz of the beautiful and historic town of St Andrews. More than 65 poets from a dozen countries worldwide will take part along with a wide range of visual artists, musicians and film-makers. Once again the festival’s lively and friendly hub will be in the Byre Theatre, which has two theatre spaces, a café/bistro and gallery areas, but events will also take place in venues in and around the town centre of St Andrews.

Headline poets include Carol Ann Duffy, Paul Muldoon, John Burnside, Menna Elfyn, Tishani Doshi, Sujata Bhatt, Ron Silliman and, as Poet in Residence for 2014, Brian Turner. For Scotland’s year of Homecoming in 2014, an in anticipation of the Commonwealth Games hosted by Glasgow this year, the first theme is A Common Wealth of Poetry. The second theme Words Under Fire responds to the legacy of the poetry of the First World War.

David Constantine will give this year’s lecture on the Great War in poetry at Home and abroad, our Past & Present series of talks will include past war poets David Jones, Isaac Rosenberg, Charles Hamilton Sorley, Vera Brittain and George Campbell Hay. There will also be a presentation on poetry and propaganda featuring JOOT Theatre Company, and exhibitions include Stephen Raw’s response to the poetry of Wilfred Owen, War is for this the clay grew tall.

The festival gets off to a spectacular start on the opening night with Rime a retelling through acrobatics and modern dance of the Coleridge classic, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Before the acrobatics start, the celebrated novelist, Louis de Bernières, will launch this 17th annual festival. In 2004 he came to St Andrews to talk about his love of poetry, and now a decade later he returns with his own debut collection of poetry.

For creative inspiration, sign up for one of six workshops this year which tickets last, our Masterclass with Paul Muldoon, or an individual session with Poetry Coach in Residence, Philippa Johnston. From Poetry Café breakfast panel discussions to evening open mics and the famous StAnza Slam, this year hosted by Rally & Broad, there’s something for all tastes, including lots of interactive events.

Carol Ann Duffy (photo copyright  Michael J Woods 2010)

Carol Ann Duffy (photo copyright Michael J Woods 2010)

StAnza 2014 Headliners Announced

3 Oct

Paul Muldoon compressed (1) Multi-award winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon is to make his first ever appearance at StAnza as part of an exciting line up of world class poets confirmed today.

Our festival next year, which forms part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 celebrations, takes place from 5th to 9th March 2014 and will feature poets from across the commonwealth.  These include a welcome return of the UK’s first Scottish-born and first female poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, Indian poet and dancer, Forward Prize winner Tishani Doshi and St Andrews’ own John Burnside, one of only two poets to have won both the T S Eliot prize and the Forward poetry prize for the same book.

Among Paul Muldoon’s accolades are the TS Eliot prize, the Pulitzer prize, the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and the Aspen prize.  He is poetry editor of the New Yorker magazine, and was described by the Times Literary Supplement as ‘the most significant English-language poet born since the second world war.’

Our themes for StAnza 2014 will be ‘A Common Wealth of Poetry’, celebrating poetry from across the Commonwealth in Scotland’s Year of Homecoming, and ‘Words Under Fire’, which looks at the poetic legacy of war in the centenary year of WW1.

Announcing the headlining poets, our Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone said:

“I am delighted to be able to confirm such an impressive line up of headlining poets for 2014. StAnza continues to attract some of the world’s leading poets who perform alongside emerging talent and those new to the poetry scene, giving the festival its dynamic and unique atmosphere.  We look forward to confirming more exciting performers and events over the coming months and to unveiling our full programme in late November.”

Caroline Packman, Homecoming Scotland 2014 Director said:  “In 2014, the year that Scotland welcomes the world, it is fitting that we support StAnza as it ties in perfectly with the Homecoming theme of celebrating creativity as well as our rich history and culture.  The charming town of St Andrews always provides a stunning backdrop for this vibrant and popular poetry festival, and I hope the exciting line-up announced today will encourage even more people to experience the festival next year.”

For a full list of headlining poets announced today, go to our website at www.stanzapoetry.org.

Carol Ann Duffy was appointed Britain’s poet laureate in May 2009.  She is the first woman, first Scot, and first openly LGBT person to hold the position.  She is currently professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her collections include Standing Female Nude (1985), winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award; Selling Manhattan (1987), which won a Somerset Maugham Award; Mean Time (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award; and Rapture (2005), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize.

Paul Muldoon was born in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.  He has worked as a radio and television producer for the BBC in Belfast, as Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and is currently poetry editor of the New Yorker.  Since 1987 he has lived in the United States and is now Professor at Princeton University.

He has published several poetry collections and has been awarded the T S Eliot Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the Griffin Prize, amongst others.

John Burnside was born in Fife and is one only two poets to have won both the T.S. Eliot prize and the Forward Poetry Prize for the same book (Black Cat Bone).  He is Professor in Creative Writing at St Andrews University.

His first collection of poetry, The Hoop, was published in 1988 and won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award. Other poetry collections include Common Knowledge(1991), Feast Days (1992), winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and The Asylum Dance (2000), winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award and shortlisted for both the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) and the T. S. Eliot Prize. The Light Trap (2001) was also shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. His poetry collection, The Good Neighbour (2005), was shortlisted for the 2005 Forward Poetry Prize (Best Collection). In 2008, he received a Cholmondeley Award.

Sujata Bhatt was born in Ahmedabad and brought up in Pune until 1968, when she emigrated to the United States with her family. She received the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia) and the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award for her first collection Brunizem.  She has translated Gujarati poetry into English for the Penguin Anthology of Contemporary Indian Women Poets. Combining both Gujarati and English, Her poems have appeared in various journals in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, and Canada, and have been widely anthologised, as well as being broadcast on British, German, and Dutch radio. She now lives in Germany.

David Constantine was born in Lancashire.  He was until recently the co-editor of the literary journal Modern Poetry in Translation.  As well as poetry, short stories, and a novel, he has translated Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet.  He has been shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award and recently won the Frank O’Conner International Short Story Award, the first English writer to do so. His new collection, Elder, out from Bloodaxe in March 2014 will be launched at StAnza.

Tishani Doshi is an Indian poet, journalist and dancer.  She was born in Madras, India, to a Welsh mother and Gujarati father. Her first poetry collection, Countries of the Body, won the 2006 Forward Poetry Prize for best first collection.  She is also the recipient of an Eric Gregory award, the All-India Prize for her poem The Day We Went to the Sea.  Her most recent book of poetry, Everything Begins Elsewhere was published by Bloodaxe in 2012.

Brian Turner is an American poet, essayist, and professor. He won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley for his debut collection, Here, Bullet, the first of many awards and honours received for this collection of poems about his experience as a soldier in the Iraq War. Since then he has won a Lannan Literary Fellowship and NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, and the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship. His second collection, Phantom Noise, was shortlisted for the 2010 T.S. Eliot Prize.

Born in Visalia, California, Turner taught English in South Korea for a year, and traveled to Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan.  He was an infantry team leader for a year in the Iraq War beginning November 2003, with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. In 1999 and 2000 he was with the 10th Mountain Division, deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Menna Elfyn is a Welsh language poet, playwright, columnist, and editor. She has published ten volumes of poetry and a dozen more of children’s books and anthologies. She has also written eight plays for stage, six radio plays for BBC, two plays for television as well as writing documentaries for television. In 2002 she was poet Laureate for the Children of Wales, and she also co-edited the Bloodaxe Book of Modern Welsh Poetry.

Ron Silliman is an American Poet.  He has written over 30 books and has had his poetry and criticism translated into 12 languages. He has worked as a political organizer, a lobbyist, an ethnographer, a newspaper editor, a director of development, and as the executive editor of the Socialist Review (US).  He has taught in the Graduate Creative Writing Programme at San Francisco State University, at the University of California at San Diego, and the New College of California.

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