StAnza 2017 celebrates Scotland's heritage and international partnerships
Patience Agbabi, Jackie Kay and Ron Butlin among the many highlights of this year's programme
Taking place this year from Wed 1 Mar–Sun 5 Mar, the annual St Andrews-based StAnza festival is a leading festival of poetry in the UK and throughout Europe. With the aim of introducing the work of emerging and established poets to as wide an audience as possible, the festival has consistently succeeded in bringing together the best of the UK's poetry scene as well as powerful voices from around the world. This year's programme will celebrate the festival's 20th year by focusing on two themes that intersect with Scotland's Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017: 'The Heights of Poetry' and 'On the Road'.
'The Heights of Poetry' provides an exploration of Scotland's high places, looking at the links between the hills and mountains of Scotland and beyond through poetry and reflection. Responding to this theme, Helen Mort will be running an all-day workshop on Tue 28 Feb, inspired by her experiences as a rock climber. There will also be a special Breakfast at the Poetry Café event on Fri 3 Mar with Mark Goodwin, Norman Bissell, Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir and Elodie Laügt who will discuss how their poetry has been influenced by mountainous landscapes and regions. The four poets will examine the heights that poetry itself can be taken and question whether there is room to grow and expand. The following day, Scottish nature writers Hamish Brown and Jim Crumley will be in conversation, talking through their travels and love of the mountains.
The second theme, 'On the Road', similarly relates to the connection between poetry, people and places. Highlights include the Border Crossings event on Thu 2 Mar with Maram Al-Massri and Paul Stephenson whose poetry has been shaped by their own migration, Poetry on the Road also on Thu 2 Mar, which will include a discussion on overseas festivals by Scottish poet Rebecca Sharp and international festival director Bas Kwakman and a lunchtime Poetry Café showcase on Fri 3 Mar, featuring South African poet Sibusiso Conelius Simelane.
Further to the two main themes, there will also be a focus on French poetry with 'La Nouvelle Alliance' which will highlight the work of French-language poets and translators including Aurélia Lassaque, Jacques Darras, Jean Portante and Zoë Skoulding.
Overall, the 2017 programme will offer many opportunities to get involved, with over 100 events, readings and performances designed to appeal to varying tastes and interests and introductions to poets from the UK, France, Luxembourg, Iceland, South Africa, the USA, Cyprus (via Dublin) and Australia.
2017 Festival and Exhibitions Launch
The special guest speaker for 2017 will be joined by Joan Margarit and Sasha Dugdale to officially launch the festival with a poem each, offering a taster of what to expect from the programme.
The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Wed 1 Mar, 6.30pm, free.
The StAnza Lecture: The Beasts and The Animals
For the StAnza Lecture, poet, translator and editor Sasha Dugdale will discuss translation, language and war using Russian poet Maria Stepanova's poem 'The Beasts and The Animals'.
The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Thu 2 Mar, 3.30pm, £4.50 (£3.50).
Poetry Centre Stage: Robert Crawford and Alice Oswald
Poetry Centre Stage features a double bill with Robert Crawford, co-editor of The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse and former winner of the Saltire Society's Scottish Book of the Year Award and Alice Oswald, Costa Poetry Book Prize and TS Eliot prize winning poet.
The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Thu 2 Mar, 8pm, £9.50 (£7.50).
Round Table: Jackie Kay
A rare opportunity to take part in an intimate Round Table reading with Scots Makar, Jackie Kay.
The Albany Hotel, North Street, Fri 3 Mar, 3.45pm, £6 (£4).
To Love a Country and Be Forced to Leave
Poet Patience Agbabi leads the To Love a Country and Be Forced to Leave workshop on movement and migration, using Refugee Tales to invite you to write your own poem about migration based on real or imagined experience.
Public Library, Church Square – Meeting Room, Sat 4 Mar, 10.30am, £6
Here Come the Trolls!
Ron Butlin offers an hour of fun for the kids, with mischief and magic from his first book for children, Here Come the Trolls.
The Town Hall, Queens Gardens – Supper Room, Sun 5 Mar, 12pm, £3.50 (£2.50).
StAnza, St Andrews, Wed 1 Mar–Sun 5 Mar.