Seven Stanzas about StAnza

How best to preview the programme at this year's StAnza Poetry Festival? There's no way we can cover all the highlights. So here are a few, but written in verse. Why? Consider it a test – if you can get through this nonsense, you'll bloody love StAnza...

Feature by Keir Hind | 27 Feb 2012

Previewing poetry in kind would seem

Appropriate in this situation

So I’ll use the ottava rima scheme,

A facetious form of low reputation,

It should fit in The Skinny like a dream.

It’s sure to draw reader indignation

But if challenged, I’ll say it’s a mockery

Most of the rhymes don’t even work properly.


StAnza begins with an event for Burns

March Thirteenth, at the festival’s start

And after this, live poets get their turns

To dazzle us with literary art.

I bet the first thing a poet learns,

Before ignoring the head for the heart

Is that preview verse will make you crabby

This type of thing never troubled Rabbie.


But enough silly complaining for now

Let’s look at some StAnza programme choices

For promising poets, workshops can endow

Writers with stronger poetic voices

And Inspire Sessions could start to show how

To turn ideas into sweet new noises

The daily workshops are there to be used…

But the StAnza Slam is there to amuse


Chris Young, last year’s winner, is back for more

And appears at another event too,

The Scottish Slam champ Young Dawkins won’t bore

But will both compete? Let’s hope that they do

In proper battle that settles the score.

But the win’s not certain – it could well be you

StAnza’s Slam’s an open competition –

To win you just need to be a magician.


I’m neglecting listings. Who else will grace

The St Andrew’s stage? Well, there’s Jackie Kay

With shows for kids and adults, always ace,

And Kathleen Jamie appears on Sunday,

Glaswegians in the Clydebuilt Showcase,

And there’s even a Denise Mina play

Karen Dunbar stars, like a guided missile,

It’s called A Drunk Woman Looks At the Thistle.


There are plenty of film screenings to see

Like Submarine, from Joe Dunthorne’s fine book

Or Psycho Poetica which should be

Amazing to see if you get a look

But other films are more my cup of tea

Like FilmPoem Live, by Alastair Cook

And I’m rather intrigued by poetry loops

A set of short films on poems and books.


As a StAnza taster this strange piece should

Hopefully send you online to their site

Which gives more detail than I ever could

About Christopher Reid, Lyn Moir or Jazz Night.

If I had unlimited space I would,

Probably not stop – there’s too much to write

But that’s all for now, that’s all we can fit in

And besides, this thing is terribly written.


Well, you made it through. Apologies, it seemed like a good idea at the time. You can find the full programme, laid out in a far easier manner to read, here: StAnza Poetry Festival, 14-18 Mar, various venues, St Andrews