Updated: Mar 9
StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, is finally back in St Andrews for another year. From the 7th to the 13th of March, this hybrid festival titled ‘Stories Like Starting Points’ will investigate the role of narrative in contemporary poetry as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, which will celebrate stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. StAnza aims to be an “intervention” in poetry, offering an innovative approach to the writing and reading of poetry. Open both to students and the wider public, StAnza is a brilliant opportunity to meet internationally acclaimed artists, poets and curators whilst exploring places in town you may not have visited yet. The festival will feature over 150 poets and artists in over 110 events, taking place all over St Andrews. Even if you’re not currently in St Andrews or have been affected by the recent covid outbreak, don’t worry as over 60 of these events will be available online via Zoom.
There are many exhibitions and art installations running all-day from 10th to the 13th. In The Byre Theatre foyers Phillip Davenport’s two-year project ‘A Book of Ours’ will be on display, a mediaeval style illuminated manuscript composed of contributions by over 100 people who have experienced homelessness. It describes their experiences, hopes, and dreams, aiming to document lives that don’t appear in the history books. In the gallery of St Andrews Heritage Museum will be ‘Message in a Bo(a)ttle’, an installation by Alastair Noble featuring a flotilla of paper boats containing poetic messages.
StAnza also has lots of interactive workshops to offer. In true St Andrews style, Luke Kennard will be running a Poetry Golf Workshop at the Royal and Ancient Golf Museum exploring the poetic potential of golf. Moreover, at the Bell Pettigrew Museum there will be a Postcard Poems workshop with Kayo Chingonyi which will involve exploring your surroundings to capture images and then writing poems drawn from these images. The festival places a large emphasis on the interconnectivity of different mediums and how poetry goes far beyond just the written word. For example, on 10th March a mix of filmpoems and films around poetry will be available to view in the Conference Room at The Byre.
If you’re looking to showcase your own work, there are several open mic events, including the old favourite, the annual StAnza slam on the 12th March. To compete for the coveted StAnza slam crown, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as places are limited and will be granted on a first come, first served basis. If you’d rather not perform but would still like to try your hand at reading poetry without the pressure, a collective reading is taking place on the same day. In previous years these readings have brought together over a hundred people, reading different poems aloud at the same time and filling the Byre Theatre with poetry.
Tickets for Stanza 2022 are now on sale and can be booked via stanzapoetry.org or from the Byre Theatre. Many events are free or less than £5 so there’s something for everyone, even if you’re on a student budget. Please also visit stanzapoetry.org for the full programme and further information on the festival.