Pies, players and poems at Bayview

Bayview (picture by Tam Pelan)
Bayview (picture by Tam Pelan)

An unlikely combination of football, poetry and Commonwealth Games endeavour will be served up at Bayview this weekend, when Rangers come to town.

It’s part of this year’s StAnza Poetry Festival, which runs from March 5-9 and is part of Homecoming Scotland 2014, a Scottish Government initiative to celebrate the year that Scotland hosts the Commonwealth Games.

An installation of poems at StAnza anticipating the games will feature ‘Raising the Banner Up-Up’, by Glasgow poet Alexander Hutchison.

It’s a tribute to the late Phil Caira, the twice Commonwealth gold medallist from Kirkcaldy, who triumphed at the games in 1958 and 1962, and was the first UK athlete to lift more than one and a half times his own body weight.

As a schoolboy, Hutchison witnessed Phil Caira in action and, in tribute to this Fife local hero, he looked to the “half time crowd at East Fife” and the traditional Scotch pies on offer at matches to find a fitting metaphor for Phil’s achievement.

Rangers are coming to Methil this Saturday to play East Fife – and Phil’s accomplishment is being celebrated in this Glasgow-Fife collaboration between verse and football.

StAnza’s festival director, Eleanor Livingstone, from Leven, arranged for a football quote from Hutchison’s poem to be printed on napkins which, in association with East Fife FC, will be available at the match to accompany the Scotch pies, and also elsewhere in Fife during the rest of the StAnza festival week.

This connects with one of the themes for StAnza’s 2014, A Common Wealth of Poetry anticipating the Commonwealth Games in July.

Ms Livingstone said: “There’s something for all tastes and every interest in this festival.”

StAnza has invited poets from a range of Commonwealth countries, and poetry connecting with sports will also be celebrated at the festival.