Tag Archives: Tom Petsinis

Join the conversation at StAnza: talks and debates

13 Mar

A Poetry Breakfast panel gets going at StAnza 2010

StAnza is well known for its lively, energetic atmosphere, for the buzz that it creates around the poetry. This is due as much to its discussion and conversation strands as to the performances and readings. By turns celebratory and controversial, these talks influence the way we think about poetry. It’s a conversation that festival goers carry on long after the festival itself is over.

The StAnza Lectures have a history of their own: of creating conversations on often controversial topics that spill over into the press and the blogosphere.  On Friday 18th, Robert Crawford brings ancient poetry bang up to date with his lecture: ‘Simonides and the War on Terror’. The Greek poet was famous for his commemorations of those who fell in battle and Crawford looks at contemporary concerns for the casualties of terrorism – civilian and military.

The festival themes and other topics get mulled over during the Poetry Breakfast series brings together poets, critics and academics – experts in their fields. The 400th anniversary of the King James Bible reminds us that this is arguably one of the most influential literary texts in English. Poet (and Poetry Review editor) Fiona Sampson joins in the discussion on Friday 18th.  On Saturday 19th the Timepiece theme gets ticking again with the help of poets Hugh McMillan and newcomer Anna Woodford among others. As with all the Breakfasts, the audience get their say too, over the coffee and pastries.

It is often (too often) said that poetry is what gets lost in translation. Sunday’s Poetry Breakfast may well turn that notion on its head: Gaelic poet Kevin MacNeil is presenting some new translations especially commissioned by StAnza, and he will be joined in discussion by Don Paterson (who has major versions of Machado and Rilke under his belt) and Australian poets Tom Petsinis, Lidija Šimkutė, of Greek and  Lithuanian extraction, respectively. That’s a lot of languages in the mix!

Elsewhere, there’s the chance to explore the true  stories behind the great poetry. Edwin Morgan’s biographer, James McGonigal will be in conversation about the much mourned Makar. He will be talking to Robyn Marsack of the Scottish Poetry Library, which holds the Edwin Morgan Archive.  And poet Gawain Douglas will be offering an alternative view of his great uncle Lord Alfred Douglas – Oscar Wilde’s lover – as part of his own family history.

There’s more about the talks at http://www.stanzapoetry.org. And you can keep the conversations going afterwards via blogs and Twitter (@stanzapoetry).

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StAnza ‘takes off’ at the NLS in Edinburgh

9 Feb

New festival director Eleanor Livingstone hosted a preview of StAnza’s festival programme at the NLS in Edinburgh last night, offering a taster of  the poetic and musical feast to come.

Poets Rab Wilson and Claire Askew and the traditional group Lurach showcased three aspects of the festival programme: the two themes, Timepiece and the Poets Ark, and a special focus on Gaelic poetry and music. Eleanor and members of the StAnza team read a selection of  poems by some of the UK and international poets who are coming to StAnza in March: Philip Gross, Carrie Etter, Selima Hill and Tom Petsinis among over 60 talented voices to look forward to.

Picking up on the theme of history (Timepiece) Rab unearthed the hidden history of  Fife mining and Claire Askew explored the intersections between her own ancestors and history. Lurach gave us some slip jigs and reels and heartstoppingly lovely melodies: a sample of the Gaelic riches to come.

If you are in Fife or Tayside area, don’t miss the Preview on Tuesday 15th February at Dundee Rep with guest poets Stewart Conn and Dawn Wood. For more about the programme and to view our brochure online, check the StAnza website: http://www.stanzapoetry.org

Poet Claire Askew at the Preview (Photo Chris Scott)

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