Tag Archives: University of St Andrews

Paul Muldoon in St Andrews, 30th October 2013

15 Oct

Paul Muldoon Sometime the good news just gets better. Not only is Paul Muldoon coming to StAnza 2014 next March, later this month he will also visit the School of English at St Andrews University, of which he is an honorary professor, and he has agreed to give a public reading during his visit. This will be a wonderful taster for his festival appearance at StAnza 2014 in March, so we are delighted to be working with the School of English to promote their event.

Paul’s reading this month will be on Wednesday 30th October at 6.30pm in Parliament Hall, 66 South Street, St Andrews, KY16 9JP at 6.30pm.  This will be a free event but limited to the capacity of the venue so if you want to be sure of a place, then email info@stanzapoetry.org to reserve a seat.  Doors will open at around 6.00pm and the event will last about an hour.

Paul Muldoon is an Irish poet now based in the US, one of the major poets writing today and we are delighted to be offering not one but two chances to hear him read in St Andrews.

More information about Paul’s events at StAnza 2014 will be available on our website at www.stanzapoetry.org after 30th November.


StAnza Slam winner to represent Scotland at World Championships

26 Apr

Carly performing at the StAnza Slam in March/Photo Chris Scott

StAnza Slam winner, Carly Brown, is to represent Scotland at the World Championship Slam in Paris, 3-9 June. As a result of her triumph at the festival in March, Carly took part in the Scottish slam Championships in Edinburgh in April  – and won. A student at the University of St Andrews, Carly is a committee member on StAnza as well as being active on the St Andrews student poetry and literature scene. But she is a relative newcomer to the art of slamming so her continued success has been exciting to watch.

Carly, who hails from Texas originally, says:  ‘I was completely shocked and very proud to have my writing recognized in this way. I’m definitely still a newcomer to slam and I’m looking forward to watching some wonderful poets perform in Paris. I’m facing off in my first round against some from Russia, Portugal and Romania!  I’m going to do my best to represent Scotland (a country that I really love) but for me it’s just about the experience and everybody coming together to celebrate poetry.’

Good luck Carly. We’ll be rooting for you!

Read more about Carly’s experience in this interview in the Stand 

And you can check out Carly’s performance at the recent Scottish championships below:


StAnza 2013 venue & ticketing update – the good news!

2 Feb

StAnza Poets Market in the Supper Room, StAnza 2012 

Following last week’s shock announcement about the Byre close, StAnza’s Festival Director, Eleanor Livingstone, provides this update about StAnza 2013:

 “The StAnza dust, about which James Harding was recently waxing so lyrical, hasn’t been allowed to settle, following the grim news about the temporary closure of the Byre theatre and the implications of this for StAnza 2013, and the good news is that alternative arrangements for ticketing and venues are almost in place.

 “Early next week StAnza tickets will be on sale once again – and as proof that we don’t do anything by halves, up until the festival week there will be not only one but two outlets for tickets.  Our friends at the Dundee Rep will sell StAnza tickets through their regular online box office, and in town the Visit Scotland  team at 70 Market Street, St Andrews, KY16 9NU, tel. 01334 474609 will be able to sell them in person, and also by phone.  In Dundee and in St Andrews both teams are working flat out and hope to be up and ready by late Monday or sometime on Tuesday next week (4th or 5th February). Full details will be available from our online Booking Page  and those of you who haven’t bought tickets yet will still have a chance to snap some up before the end of the Early Bird discount period on 10th February.  

 “A few of the smaller events are already sold out, but there’s still a handful of tickets left for the ever popular Round Table readings and workshops, so if you were thinking you’d missed the boat on them, get in there fast next week! 

 “The Town Hall in Queens Gardens, which has always been our secondary hub in all its Victorian Gothic grandeur, has risen to the challenge and will become this year’s primary hub. The Supper Room there, a regular StAnza venue, will be so transformed into a lively, bustling festival hub from Thursday 7th through to Sunday 10th March, that the Hall Keepers who are working flat out with us on this will hardly recognise it. Lunches, dinners and a bar will be available – including for late night jazz and open mic events – and exhibitions, projections and installations will also relocate there. The Festival Desk and Bookstall too will be found in the Supper Room, as well as this year’s StAnza Box Office. So the Supper Room will be the place to meet friends and make friends, to chill out, rev up and people-watch as poets from around the world arrive to check in at the festival.

 “Upstairs, the main hall will become StAnza’s main stage. It’s not unacquainted with poetry. Though we haven’t used it recently – except for the giant knitted poem in 2011 – in StAnzas past many great poets have taken the mic there, including Roger McGough, Sharon Olds, Mark Strand and Alistair Reid. I sneaked in for a preview yesterday when the relocated Fife Jazz Festival were sound-checking.  With the sun obligingly streaming through the windows and the raked seating all set up, it looked impressive indeed – and sounded wonderful!  This weekend’s Jazz Festival is highly recommended, at least to anyone who doesn’t have a festival to re-arrange.

 “For one night only, Wednesday 6th March for our opening events – the Festival Launch and RiverRun, a voyage through Dublin in music, visuals and poetry – thanks to support from the University of St Andrews, StAnza will relocate to the state-of-the-art new theatre in the MBSB (Medical and Biological Sciences Building) on the North Haugh. Don’t be put off by the name, it’s a stunning venue. You’ll find it on the corner, facing The Gateway across the roundabout. St Andrews locals will know not only where it is but that parking is no problem there; and we’ll have detailed directions for our audience coming from out of town, plus a guide to lead people from the Town Hall to the North Haugh where pop-ups will proclaim that StAnza has arrived.

 “Just as the show is going on this weekend for the Jazz Festival, likewise the core programme for StAnza 2013 goes ahead as planned. Only one out of the 103 events planned has fallen victim to the Byre closure – the Ian Hamilton Finlay exhibition of silkscreen prints needed a special kind of gallery setting which couldn’t be found elsewhere on short notice. Of course I’m very disappointed about this but plan to bring the exhibition another year once we’re safely back in the Byre.

 “Otherwise, we are still on course with everything else on the programme, albeit with many events in alternative venues. My huge thanks to all the local organisations and bodies who have this week so generously offered to re-home some of our events, even if that involves some re-organisation of their own events, and to their obliging staff who have cheerfully responded to my copious lists of queries and questions. We’ll update our online listings with details of the new venues as and when they are firmed up over the next week or so, and once everything is in place, posters giving the full details of alternative venues will appear all around St Andrews, further afield at the SPL and other places, and be downloadable from our website. However, if in doubt, just enquire during StAnza of the good folk at the Festival Desk in the Supper Room.

 “We don’t have time to reprint this year’s brochure with the new venue listings, but for those who can’t get them online, we’ll have a handout available at the Festival Desk which you can consult in tandem with the brochure.

“My thanks also to my StAnza colleagues, our staff, trustees and committee members, who have responded magnificently to this challenge and provided invaluable support in a million ways. There’s such energy in St Andrews at present, made up of goodwill and constructive action directed at the Byre and at StAnza, so strong you could almost bottle it. Indeed, it’s not just in St Andrews but reaching across Scotland, so I have to be confident that this will prevail and the Byre won’t be dark for long. And meantime, when the whole StAnza extended family – poets, other performers, audience, volunteers – arrives in town next month to join that mix, the effect is going to be tremendous. I look forward to seeing you there.”

Andrew Lang Lecture, 2012

12 Oct

This year’s prestigious Andrew Lang lecture will be delivered by Jane Yolen, the hugely acclaimed and multiple prize-winning children’s writer and poet from the USA. Her topic will be “Folklore versus Fakelore: An Imagined Conversation with Andrew Lang”. The lecture, which is open to the public, will be delivered at St Andrews University on 1st November at 5.30 p.m. in Lower College Hall, St Salvator’s Quadrangle, North Street, St Andrews, and there will be a question and answer session at the end.

The first Andrew Lang Lecture was delivered in 1927 and previous lecturers have included John Buchan and J.R.R. Tolkien. Jane Yolen as the first woman ever to give this lecture is a very distinguished name to add to this list.

More details online at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/archive/2012/Title,92664,en.html

In S T E R E O S C O P E

31 Mar

Poem by Karen Doherty inspired by photo by Roman Koblov

One of the installations for StAnza 2012 as part of our theme of The Image and focus on photography was a collaboration with STEREOSCOPE magazine. Created by St Andrews University students, the magazine draws on the photographic history of St Andrews and works with the support of the University’s special collections. For this installation, poets were invited to respond to specific of the images in the magazine and the following poems produced during the project were projected along with the images. The two photographs which prompted most of the poems submitted were by Jeremy Waterfield and Roman Koblov. Here are the poems.


Stephanie Green: Stereoscopes, and Dual Perspectives

18 Mar

Saturday 17th March, 2012, Day 4

A Poetry Breakfast, complete with coffee and pastries, is a great way to wake up at StAnza.  The Breakfast topic today was ‘Iconic’ with Robert Crawford, Michael Symmons Roberts, Lavinia Greenlaw – all poets and professors as Norman McBeath, the only photographer, commented. They all brilliantly highlighted the various perspectives and aspects of issues surrounding  the image- even straying into the different perspectives of poetry and science, poetry and the religious icon.  In fact, the conversations were so complex and detailed I cannot do more than recommend you try to hear audio clips of it online – when it eventually appears on the StAnza website.

Photography featured  in this discussion and  has throughout the festival.  So I was intrigued to learn that the University also holds one of the largest and most important collections of historic Scottish photography.  St Andrew’s is the hub of Scottish photography.

Apart from the other major photo exhibitions I’ve already blogged about, wavering on the walls of the Byre today were a selection of poems  alongside photos which inspired them : one from the University’s Special Collections archive and others from contemporary student photographers , chosen by ‘Stereoscope,’ the university’s student-produced photography magazine.

A Stereoscope is not something I had encountered before. If you’re into Photography, you may know that it was invented by Sir David Brewster (based at St Andrew’s) to provide the viewer with a dual perspective, creating a 3-D effect, (though wikipedia disputes this- oops do we believe wikip?– conceding he did invent a certain type of stereoscope with prisms  instead of mirrors. Not sure I want to get into this controversy and irritate the powers that be at St A. )  In his day he was more famous for inventing the kaleidescope (though he never made a penny from it as others copied it before he got his patent granted.) No wonder he was noted for his bad temper,  but  Brewster’s correspondence with Wm. Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of the calotype established St Andrew’s as ‘the epicentre of early photography.’

Carson Wos from ‘Stereoscope’ told me the two intriguing photos that got the most responses were Roman Koblov’s  and Jeremy Waterfield’s .  You can see all 5 photos on their magazine blog.

Outside in the grassy courtyard,  chiselling away, was line cutter, John Neilson, working away at a plaque depicting a few lines of verse by Brian Johnstone (former StAnza Director). What had poetry, calligraphy and line cutting on stone in common I wondered?  Beauty of line?  John’s response was that he felt both poet and line cutter valued paring down.  For him, if he was going to spend hours, days, chiselling away, thinking about the poem, it must not be banal or trivial.  Each word must count.  And literally too, he said grinning. The more words, the more it cost!  Hmm, I thought, perhaps many of us wordy, rambling poets should take that to heart.

John has much experience carving lines of poetry. In particular I loved the serpentine words carved on stone slabs on the floor of a church in Bath and also his carving of Carol Ann Duffy’s words at the Much Wenlock Festival, 2010:

‘How your sweetness pervades

My shadowed, busy heart.’

You can see photos of his work on the Letter Exchange website. He is also Editor of their journal ‘Forum’.


Book your free place at the StAnza Book Group, St Andrews

19 Jan

Good news for poetry lovers living in and around St Andrews. StAnza is offering free places at its Book Group, a new collaboration between StAnza and the Open Association at the University of St Andrews, which will meet next month to read and talk about poets who will feature at StAnza 2012, including Michael Symmons Roberts and Kathleen Jamie.

Robert Crawford, one of Scotland’s leading poets and currently Professor of Modern Scottish Literature, and PhD students from the School of English at the University will lead three early evening sessions from 5.30pm-7.30pm on Wednesdays 1st, 15th and 29th February in the Conference Room at St Katherine’s West at 16 The Scores, St Andrews KY16 9AX. To book a free place contact Ruth Harris or Debbie Wilbraham on 01333 462275 or open.association@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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