International line-up of poets set to attend 2014 Stanza poetry festival
Carol Ann Duffy, Louis de Bernieres and Paul Muldoon among highlights of St Andrews festival
Dip your toe - or better still, take a swim - into the pool of words that makes up the 2014 Stanza: Scotland's Poetry Festival in St Andrews from 5-9 March. This year, as ever, there is a great line-up of Scottish and international poets reading their work, conversations about poetry, poetry slam, workshops to develop visitors' own poetry and the chance to listen to and talk about past poets whose verse has stood the test of time and, this year, an emphasis on translated poets. The literary buzz that Stanza brings to this lively university town is nothing short of intoxicating.
Key guests at the 2014 festival include Carol Ann Duffy, Paul Muldoon, John Burnside, Louis de Bernieres, Tishani Doshi, Menna Elfyn, Sujata Bhatt and Ron Silliman. Over 75 poets appear during the five-day festival, and thanks to low ticket prices and the venues' proximity to each other, visitors can pack a great deal in: and many events are free. The hub is the Byre Theatre, and the other spaces used throughout the festival vary from an 18th century drawing room to the Council Chamber.
In recent years, Stanza has become one of the leading poetry festivals in the UK: there are exhibitions, films, lectures, cabaret, music, discussions and conversations gathered around this year’s themes of 'The Commonwealth of Poetry' and 'Words under Fire'. The first brings in poets from all over the Commonwealth and the second examines the poetic legacy of the First World War and other wars. Further highlights include Rime a modern dance and acrobatic retelling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', The Stanza Lecture delivered by well known poet and translator David Constantine and a film event featuring extracts from Stephen Raw’s text based exhibition ‘Was It for This the Clay Grew Tall’ based on the poems of Wilfred Owen. Amongst the various children’s poetry events, the highlight is bound to be Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson, Duffy enchanted everyone when she came to Stanza five years ago. You'd be advised to book your tickets now, especially for the much sought after Round Table events, where ticketholders get a chance to meet with the poet.