Sunday, 13 May 2007

18th March, 2007 StAnza Poetry Festival

Highlights from StAnza 2007
Sunday, 18th March

John Hegley I have to confess I ate his breakfast. Sorry about that, John.

Gwyneth Lewis Masterclass Arrived late due to breakfast mishap above - luckily she had not started. Mine, 'The Burning Glass' was one of the poems chosen to discuss. Again it was 'an interrogation' of what the poems were doing. Emphasis on who one was addressing again (Had GS and GL consulted?!), especially who is 'you' ?- the problems when the 'you' is a different one from other 'you's' in the poem. Interesting discussions on structural unity.

The 100 Poets Gathering. Phew. Never thought I'd survive this but did sit it out for most of the whole event 11am -4.30 (though missed first session due to workshop). What an honour to read (albeit for 3 mins only) alongside some of poetry world's most established names. Interesting to put a face to a name of all the Scottish poets one knows from literary mags etc. A great mixture of personal, love poems, quirky, gsh, serious political poems (eg anti Iraq war, )ending on a selection of nationalistic, celebratory ones, culminating in Alistair Reid's Scotland - text of which has been flickering on stone buldings throughout StA all week.. Jim Carruth was a wonderful MC, kept us to the schedule but charming, warm as ever. He read a cow poem, of course.

Highlights for me were Mike Stock's 'Two Boys' where the ending hits you in the solar plexus. (From 'Folly' Herla Press). Something only Sharon Olds does for me usually. I know Mike from ceildhe dancing - it is a small world, Edinburgh - but neither of us knew we were both writers. Patricia Ace read 'First Blood' about her 12 year old daughter - who was sitting there and apparently did not mind. A strong, dramatic reading but also controlled and subtle - her Glasgow MLitt is showing. Alistair Reid rewriting the last line of 'Scotland' was an iconic moment from 'We'll pay for it' x 3 to 'We're free' x 3 - though most dramatic was his setting fire to the paper it was written on (not a book which would have had too many negative connotations), Jim holding a plate underneath so it didn't fall on the stage !

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