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.

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