StAnza 2011 poetry festival launches

US poet Kevin Young among poetry festival programme highlights

The five day StAnza poetry festival opened in St Andrews yesterday, launching its varied programme of verse, art and music. Always a luminous affair amid the dreich days of March, the festival, now in its 13th year, brings poetic talent from all over the world together in a whirl of energy and thoughtfulness that spins the gloom and dampness from our winter minds.

With reasonably priced tickets and many free events, it’s surprising that there are not more students enjoying the festival, which includes workshops, exhibitions, masterclasses and slam poetry events. Those at last night’s festival launch were treated to a taster of the poetry and music to expect. Tom Morton, visiting from the Shetland Isles, engaged the audience with his dry and knowledgeable banter and wit. He made reference to St Andrews as a popular place of pilgrimage in times past, to the extent that the townspeople introduced a one way system to avoid congestion, and so it remains a place of pilgrimage today for those who enjoy words and civilised provoking discussion.

Kevin Young, a US poet at the launch who will be performing again later in the week, recited his poem written for the birth of his son, describing the cord that bound him to his mother as "like a crocus pulsing". Stanza too is a sort of rebirth every year, with the flowers of the mind bought from all over the world, and making it a worthy addition to the literary calendar in Scotland.

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