Wednesday, 14 March 2018

StAnza 2018

             StAnza is an international poetry festival that takes place in St Andrews every year in March and runs for almost a week. Renowned poets like Liz Lochhead, Don Paterson, Miriam Gamble and Douglas Dunn mingle with newbies and poetry lovers from up and down the country, as well as from abroad. I treated myself to two days of poetic heaven, spending every last penny I had on poetry collections and anthologies (plus several coffees).
The highlight of the weekend for me was a workshop intriguingly billed as A Double-voiced Bird, which I had been invited to participate in after a selection process a few months ago that required me to describe my own poetic process involving bilingual approaches. Led by acclaimed Berlin-based poet Ulrike Almut Sandig, the workshop involved the creation of a kind of patchwork poem distilled from members’ prepared lines, complete with bilingual elements in German, Scots, Dutch and Italian. To say that I was surprised by the resultant piece would be an understatement. In just under two hours, a group of seven poets who had only just met – and one was a ten year old child! – spliced, diced, negotiated and rehearsed a brand new collaborative poem, which we then performed before a packed hall of poets, writers, visitors, publishers and editors, some stopping to take photographs and film us performing.

The feedback from audience members who approached us was startlingly positive and encouraging and I left the hall feeling overjoyed to have been part of such a refreshingly novel experience.

Diana Devlin

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