StAnza 2012 international poetry festival highlights

StAnza 2012 international poetry festival - highlights

The international poetry festival to feature appearances from Jackie Kay and Joe Dunthorne

It always helps a festival event to have some kind of theme in order to bring together many different strands and give the whole shebang a proper focus. Perhaps spoilt for choice, the organisers of StAnza (aka Scotland’s Poetry festival) have gone for two themes for their 15th annual outing. For the first, The Image, there is an exploration of the importance and relevance of the image in poetry, as well as in psychology, religion, visual art, and photography. The second theme, Poetry by Degrees, looks at the relationship between verse and education.

While StAnza is centred on the town’s famous Byre Theatre, other venues include Parliament Hall, the Preservation Trust Museum, Zest and Balmungo House. The rooms will house a total of 88 participants including a number of headline poets such as Jackie Kay, Kathleen Jamie, Christopher Reid and Lavinia Greenlaw.

Among the tasty-looking events are a celebration of Philip Larkin’s love of jazz featuring the Dave Batchelor Quintet and David Hayman (Byre Theatre, Wed 14), an intimate table reading with John Burnside (Green Room, Thu 15), Joe Dunthorne appearing in one of the Border Crossings translated poets events (Town Hall, Sun 18) while there’s a screening of Submarine, Dunthorne’s debut novel directed by Richard Ayoade (Byre Theatre, Thu 15) and Karen Dunbar performs A Drunk Woman Looks at the Thistle (Byre Theatre, Sun 18). A piece about national identity and the future of Scotland’s culture, this is author Denise Mina’s acclaimed theatrical response to MacDiarmid’s 1926 poem, ‘A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle’.

Various venues, St Andrews, Wed 14–Sun 18 Mar.

Jackie Kay

Celebrated poet and makar Jackie Kay reads from Bantam, her first collection since becoming Scottish Makar. Scottish poet Jackie Kay has released numerous poetry collections, including The Adoption Papers, Maw Broon Monologues and The Empathetic Store. Her 1998 novel Trumpet, based on the life of American jazz musician…


  • 4 stars
  • 2010
  • UK
  • 1h 37min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Richard Ayoade
  • Cast: Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins

A witty, poignant and hugely accomplished British comedy about a 15-year-old schoolboy (Roberts) struggling with a rich fantasy life in a Welsh village in the late 20th century. Debut director Ayoade (star of The IT Crowd) looks set for a glowing career.

StAnza: Scotland's Poetry Festival

The cleverly titled StAnza is a literary festival that focuses on verse. Joining the locals for readings, performances, slams, open mics, jazz, films, workshops and poetry-related art exhibitions, and installations are a host of local and international wordsmiths. The festival's 2021 edition heads online, with the themes…

StAnza Workshop: Lavinia Greenlaw

To mark and celebrate our two themes for 2012, The Image and Poetry by Degrees, StAnza is delighted to offer its first all-day poetry workshop in partnership with the Barns-Graham Charitable Trust. The workshop will take place in the beautiful setting of Balmungo House, home of the late Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, one of the…

A Drunk Woman Looks at the Thistle: Karen Dunbar

Actress and comedian Karen Dunbar performs Denise Mine's response to Hugh MacDiarmid's seminal 1926 poem. Part of StAnza.

Kind of Larkin: Dave Batchelor Quintet, Don Paterson & David Hayman

Philip Larkin, jazz-lover as well as poet, worked as a jazz critic during the 1960s and his reviews and writings on the development of jazz over the decades reflect on his role as reviewer as well as on the music, as his true feelings about modern jazz seep through. His sometimes controversial opinions are eloquently and…

Poetry Centre Stage: Chase Twichell & Lavinia Greenlaw

StAnza welcomes for the first time the American poet Chase Twichell. A practising Buddhist, her work often reflects her spiritual beliefs and her experiences living in the rural environment of the Adirondacks. Her latest selected volume is published by Bloodaxe. Lavinia Greenlaw, StAnza’s Poet in Residence, who is also…

Words Alive!: Jackie Kay

Join us for a fantastically entertaining session with StAnza favourite Jackie Kay. Jackie Kay is one of Scotland's best loved writers for children and adults alike. The poet who gave us Brendan Gallacher and many other popular favourites creates poems and stories where the words come alive. With this captivating…

StAnza: Festival Launch: St Andrews Saxophone Quartet, Alistair Moffat, Lavinia Greenlaw & Kwame Dawes

Our special guest speaker for 2012, Alistair Moffat, author, television producer and director and now the Rector of St Andrews University, is joined by our Poet in Residence for 2012, Lavinia Greenlaw, and Kwame Dawes, originally from Jamaica and now based in the USA, who offer a poem each along with some lively music for…

Poetry Café for Breakfast: Iconic: Robert Crawford, Norman McBeath, Michael Symmons Roberts & Lavinia Greenlaw

The town of St Andrews has been closely associated with the development of photography. Photographer Norman McBeath joins poet Robert Crawford to discuss their collaborative exhibition at StAnza and, along with poet Michael Symmons Roberts, whether poetry like a camera lens can also capture the iconic image. Start your…

Psycho Poetica: Simon Barraclough, Isobel Dixon & Joe Dunthorne

After packed performances in 2010 at the British Film Institute, the Whitechapel Gallery, Latitude Festival and the Royal Festival Hall, Psycho Poetica brings a new poetic version of Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal slasher to StAnza. Simon Barraclough sliced the film up into 12 segments and then recruited 12 acclaimed UK…

Round Table: John Burnside

Early booking is essential for this event which offers a unique opportunity to hear a major poet read to a small audience in peaceful surroundings. Perfect for the prolific poet and novelist John Burnside, whose recent collection Black Cat Bone won him the prestigious Forward Prize for Poetry and was praised for its…

Past & Present: Kwame Dawes & Lavinia Greenlaw

The distinguished Jamaican poet Kwame Dawes explores the remarkable work, and troubled life, of one of his compatriots, Anthony McNeill, whose experimental style is often inflected with jazz rhythms, while this year's Poet in Residence Lavinia Greenlaw looks back at the life and works of the Tudor diplomat and translator…

Border Crossing: Joe Dunthorne & Nikola Madzirov

Joe Dunthorne was born and brought up in Swansea, the subject of his first novel, Submarine (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, 2008), which was made into an acclaimed film in 2011. His poetry pamphlet is published by Faber & Faber (Faber New Poets 5, 2010). He is paired with a poet from the Republic of Macedonia, Nikola…

The StAnza Lecture: Lavinia Greenlaw

This year's Poet in Residence, Lavinia Greenlaw, Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, delivers the StAnza Lecture for 2012. The reading and writing of poetry have a great deal to teach us about argument. From precision to persuasion, rhetoric to provocation, this lecture will look at the various…

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