StAnza Poetry Festival: 5 Events to Catch

Ahead of Scotland's beloved poetry festival StAnza kicking off this week, we pick out five must-see events

Article by Beth Cochrane | 06 Mar 2018
  • Stanza

Since 1998, StAnza Festival has been bringing Scotland some of the finest poets, both international and homegrown, to stages across St Andrews once a year. StAnza 2018 takes place from 7-11 March, and has outdone itself once again with a fantastic programme of poetic talent. There’s a lot to cram into the five-day festival, so here’s a selection of top events to watch out for.

Celebrate International Women’s Day on Thu 8 Mar with Deborah Alma, editor of #MeToo: A Woman’s Poetry Anthology. The anthology features new poetry that grew from the #MeToo social media campaign, which rocked the world at the end of 2017. The poems are challenging, and often full of pain and anger. Join Alma for the Scottish launch of this important anthology at 6.15pm in The Byre Theatre’s Conference Room.

A stand out drop-in event in the programme is StAnza’s annual Poetry Market, this year taking place on Sat 10 Mar in The Town Hall’s Supper Room, 12-4pm. The UK’s top poetry publishers will take to their stalls for the afternoon for you to peruse at your leisure. Expect not only poetry pamphlets and collections, but also a wide range of artists’ books and literary magazines.

Also on Saturday, rising star of the UK poetry scene Sara Hirsch takes to the stage at the Poetry Café in the Byre Theatre (1pm). Both poet and performer, Hirsch has won slams at both national and international standards. Her work is fused with joy and warmth; the perfect performance to fuel a weekend packed with poetic adventure.

Celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People, Liz Lochhead will share her favourite poems for the young (and the young at heart), at her Bairnsangs event on Sun 11 Mar at 12pm in The Town Hall’s Supper Room. Lochhead will perform old and new poems that celebrate humour, fun and rhyme, ultimately demonstrating what our Makar feels passionately about: that poetry is written to be enjoyed, not analysed or dissected.

Need a short break from poetry readings? Artist and poet Julie Johnstone is bringing her exhibition and set of installations, each breath, a page | each page, a breath, to StAnza from 8-11 March. Expect stunning, selected artists’ books of the highest quality as well as Johnstone's own installations at this gem of an event, taking place in the Preservation Trust Museum.

There’s a huge selection of not only poetry readings at this year’s festival, but also digital projections, exhibitions and installations, as well as the annual StAnza slam, taking place on Saturday at 10.15pm. Make sure to plan out your events in advance; tickets are selling fast throughout the programme and you don’t want to miss out on any of these incredible events.

StAnza: Scotland's International Poetry Festival takes place 7-11 Mar at venues across St Andrews; full programme and ticket details can be found at