Fife poetry festival to go live this weekend

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival is set to go live with its online celebration of poetry in all its forms.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:02 am
Bela Chekurishvili is among those taking part.

The annual event opens on Saturday, for the first time ever taking the form of a hybrid, digital festival with dozens of local, national and international poets taking part in the festival over nine days.

Festival director Eleanor Livingstone said: “We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm with which people have embraced our new online format and delighted that we are able to deliver a festival despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“StAnza will of course be very different to previous years but we have stayed true to our usual format and look forward to bringing festival favourites such as readings, round tables and open mic events, along with a virtual festival cafe, to audiences via our online platform.”

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StAnza 2021 will open with a show stopping first night extravaganza showcasing a selection of poems, film, art and music with readings from Saili Katebe and Jane Longhurst as well as music from Glasgow-based folksinger, songwriter and ukulele player Claire Hastings.

This year’s programme features an exceptional line-up of talent including Naomi Shihab Nye, winner of the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Book Critics Circle; Raymond Antrobus, winner of the Ted Hughes Award for new work in poetry in 2019; and poet, playwright and translator Sasha Dugdale, a previous winner of the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.

They will be joined by Imtiaz Dharker, winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal along with Nadine Aisha Jassat, Tim Liardet, Maria Stepanova, Rab Wilson, Valzhyna Mort and Christopher Whyte. Other poets on the StAnza programme include Jonathan Edwards, Jennifer Wong, Inua Ellams, Nabin K. Chhetri and many more.

Over nine days the festival will celebrate live poetry online around this year's two themes ‘Make It New’ and ‘No Rhyme nor Reason’.

In recent years StAnza has introduced a dedicated language focus to the festival programme. As 2021 is the 30th anniversary of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the translated language focus, ‘Beyond the Iron Curtain’, will be on languages from the former Eastern bloc.

The 2021 programme will feature poets and events dedicated to languages of Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany and North Macedonia. As well as showcasing poets working in languages from these countries, the festival will have a selection of installations and online exhibitions, giving audiences an insight into the poetry scene and touching on some of the recent unrest from this part of the world.

StAnza is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

This year’s festival will include traditional StAnza favourites such as readings and round table events, and new events to capture the full potential of the digital realm, including interactive poetry installations, ‘At Home’ events with poets and an enhanced filmpoem and sound poem programme.

The programme will also include a series of installations. To learn more about the festival, visit – stanzapoetry.org/festival.