Scottish Poetry News: March 2018

A look at the month ahead in the poetry world, as StAnza and Aye Write! festivals return for 2018

Article by Beth Cochrane | 05 Mar 2018
  • Language, Live! Spoken Word and Poetry in the Northwest

It’s the month we’ve all been waiting for, as March brings us StAnza, Scotland’s own International Poetry Festival, from 7-11 March. Set in its usual home of St Andrews, this year’s StAnza programme includes titan headliners such as Sinéad Morrissey, William Letford and Liz Lochhead. There’s an outstanding variety in the programme, but let’s take a closer look at what poetic treats are on offer.

Physics and Poetry (8 Mar, 7pm) features Iggy McGovern and Gregory Tate leading a discussion on the interconnections of physics and poetry. McGovern and Tate will, through conversation and readings, explore the misconception that science and the arts come as separate disciplines. Rather, the two complement one another more readily than first assumed.

The StAnza Slam (10 Mar, 10.15pm) is always a much anticipated evening, with some of the best poets in the Scottish poetry community competing for the coveted title of StAnza Slam Champion. This year, the slam will be hosted by Flemish performance poet Andy Fierens.

The final day of StAnza 2018 brings us the Translation Showcase. As part of this year’s language focus, Going Dutch, Scotland’s own Rachel Plummer and Stewart Sanderson have been working with Frisian poets Geart Tigchellar and Sigrid Kingma in a collaboration of new work and translation. Join the poets at 11am sharp on Sun 11 Mar for this showcase of multilingual talent.

The month continues with festival happenings at Glasgow’s own Aye Write!, taking place 15-25 March. The poetry strand of the programme is excellent, with two particularly eye catching events in the lineup.

Sam Small and Dale McMullen will be discussing the origins and innovations of their new publishing house, Speculative Books, in Mitchell Library. The two will be joined by two of their poets, Leyla Josephine and David Linklater (16 Mar, 7.45pm).   

Also at Aye Write!, the Glasgow Poet Laureate Jim Carruth will be introducing two massive names in contemporary poetry, Caroline Bird and Robert Minhinnick, to the Mitchell Library stage. With a whole bouquet of awards between them, Bird and Minhinnick are not to be missed, and will be reading on 22 Mar at 7.45pm for your poetic pleasure.

Glasgow-based poet Liam McCormick is set to release his debut collection, Beast, via Burning Eye Books on 20 March. The collection not only features poetry but also short stories and plays, which explore a millennial modern-day Glasgow in all its gentrification and toxicity. A shock to the system, McCormick will launch Beast with Sonnet Youth in Basement Theatre, Edinburgh, on 20 March and Drygate Brewery, Glasgow, on 21 March.

Amid all the sweetness of poetry, do remember the world is crumbling to right wing rubble all around you. Thankfully, Quercus have produced a new collection, Poems for a World Gone to Sh*t, to ease your impending sense of mild unease and peril. Set for publication on 8 March, the book is separated into five distinct sections, including everything from what the f**k? to life is still f**king beautiful. Poetry ranges from your classic favourites to popular contemporary verse.  

Finally this month, watch out for [Untitled] Presents: Film Poet, Margaret Tait at 100, at Falkirk’s Behind The Wall on 15 March. The evening includes screenings of Margaret Tait’s three most enthralling silent films, accompanied by some of Scotland’s finest spoken word performers and poets. Come celebrate the Tait centenary with [Untitled] and your host for the evening, Craig Allan.