Stephanie Green's Photo Journal of Literary Festival
(See 2007 Photo Journal below for general intro to St A but here's a more personal memoir )
This year there seemed to be a theme, in my photos that is:
steps and crowsteps
high-stepping cows, stepping out on poetry walk
and where not to walk or watch your step*
(*It's supposed to be bad luck if you tread on the spot where Patrick Hamilton was burnt for heresy in 1528 .)
and certainly watch your step when red gowned students carry sgian dhu in their socks,
much dancing: bathing beauties
at the Preservation Trust Museum, and at a friend's children's ceildhe
Friesan poets ( Elmar Kuiper and Tsead Bruinja, on mike) stepping up the heat,
and poets dancing.
To follow, some snaps of friends...
Annie Kelly Claudia Daventry
Colin Will and me. Hug under direction of Jim Carruth after his reading of
Tessa Gallagher's poem 'The Hug' on Poetry Walk, not that I need much prompting to hug dear friend, Colin.
and here is my wee haiku tribute:
On Being asked for Directions by Two Lost Poets
(For James Fenton and August Kleinzahler)
Two poetry stars
wander round St. Andrew's, lost.
Surely not for words.
No, there will no be photos here of the big names on the StAnza programme - you must look on the offical webpage for those - but here are samples of my favourite item in the whole festival: Jen Hadfield's Shetlandic bruck exhibition (tobacco tins inspired by Mexican folk art ex-voto.) They parallel her quirky and atmospheric poems in her new collection 'Nigh- No- Place' (Bloodaxe), which she did not read, but I hope will be invited to at a future festival.
'Its Chatter - I think you I thank you for talking fast and furious for making me stutter I do bless you with springing spit'
Satellite nest of pewter sheet, wire and beads.
'I think of it a little at the starting and ending of the day ' Re: re:re:re: The Mister at Bister
Tin, bruck starling, beercan blossom and oils Tin, goldleaf and oils Tin, Mexican sequins, beads & oils
Thank you and goodnight.
Kingdom of Fife, Scotland. Harbour and university town, loads of atmosphere, historical,(of a blood-thirsty religious wars type) and maritime flavour (seagulls, fish and diesel). And a bracing wind straight from Siberia. Small enough to bump into all the famous (from all over the world) and up and coming poets in the quaint streets and crammed bars. The Byre Theatre foyer bar is the place to be..alternatively a stroll round the golf course (oh forgot to mention, there is quite a well-known golf course attached) for fresh air or down to the harbour for more pungent air. Appropriately enough, the festival opened with a Poetry Boat, The Reaper, arriving to local pipe band having sailed from Anstruther to arrive in St. Andrew's Harbour where various poets climbed on board and Gwyneth Lewis ..you guessed it ...recited a poem.
On the Poetry Boat: Brian Johnstone, (Director of StAnza) Anna Crowe,(poet), Gwynedd Lewis (Welsh National Bard and this year's Festival Poet in Residence ) Alan Gay and Robert Alan Jamieson (Shetlandic poet ).
Poets on board: Gwynedd Lewis, Alan Gay and Robert Alan Jamieson. Below deck Alan Gay with exhibition of all things nautical, plus his own poems inspired by local fishing boat tragedy
When needing a break from poetry - architecture to rival Oxford or Cambridge, only stone is greyer and lots of crow-stepped gables
Almost every building seems to have a blue plaque . Fascinating detail. I mean, unless you were a physicist or alpinist or climber or cartographer, would you have heard of Forbes? Well, now you have. I love the way the 16th century chaps were not only scientists but linguists, philosphers, not forgetting, swordsmen, horsemen, and musician/poets...
If Red Nose Day falls during StAnza week again you may catch local school boys serenading the posh gals outside the gates of St. Salvator's School. The gals did not cough up, needless to say. It was left to me and other middle-aged mums to donate coins to their bucket. And are not pop singers the modern version of poet troubadors? You see, poetry is not dead to the youth of St. A.
'A Place where Thought Happens'
Text by Larry Butler.
Art work by Brigid Collin.
People Power can also be found at the Scottish Pamphlet Poetry Fair, and like a bric or brac sale, if you search, you may discover gold, especially pamphlets which are works of art in themselves.
People Power is also much in evidence at the numerous Slams, chief Master of Ceremonies of which is often Jim Carruth, who if pressed will recite one of his poems about cows. (So modern poets today may not be swordsmen, horsemen etc but they can be cowmen.)
As for sartorial elegance? The prize has to go to, no not Douglas Dunn (Professor of Poetry at St. A's university) but a look-alike and equally fine poet, Colin Will, who told me he was approached by many for his autograph , thinking he must be Douglas.