Sunday, March 16, 2008

StAnza Poetry Festival 2008: report, part 2

Got back to the StAnza Poetry Festival this morning in time for the masterclass in translation, featuring poets who use dialect in their work – Franconian, Scots, Shetlandic. It was a entertaining session, and comparing the translations they (and members of the audience) had done of one another’s work was fascinating.

I skipped away a little early to catch Cheryl Follon’s reading. She was excellent, just as she had been at the Great Grog last month. There’s a real dynamism about her poems when read out loud, plenty of fireworks going on sonically and rhythmically, but not in a show-off way.

I had soup afterwards with Andy Jackson and Cheryl, who had to rush off for her train. So Andy and I had a pint of lager in The Criterion pub on the St Andrews main street, before the Wholly Communion film, which featured readings to a packed Royal Albert Hall (try filling that for a poetry reading these days…in fact, maybe it would be possible??), by Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Adrian Mitchell, Christopher Logue etc. The lager was fine for me, but most members of that audience looked as if they were under the influence of something far more potent. A few of the poems still sounded good today, others came over as pretentious crap, but the film made compelling viewing.

I had a coffee afterwards with Andy Philip, ran into Gerry Cambridge and Colin Will, and met sorlil for the first time. I looked at a few pamphlets at the Fair, talked with Jim Carruth for a while, and that was about it for me. On my way to the train station, I ran into Trish Ace and her friend (whose name has gone out of my head. Sorry) who filled me in on many gaps in my knowledge regarding the current Scottish poetry scene.

So that’s StAnza for another year. I had a good time. The highlight was undoubtedly August Kleinzahler’s reading on the Friday evening. That will stay with me for a while.


Sorlil said...

Was good to meet you Rob, even without the red hair!!

Anonymous said...

For the archives, my setlist ... reduced by 5 minutes due to not being able to find the bogs in the venue and having to take a piss in the utility cupboard sink.

1. Saturday Night
2. Foxes
3. Apocrypha - Apocalypse of Judas
4. Apocrypha - Abraham
5. Acts
6. The Visitor
7. Maryhill Road
8. The Christmas Pet
9. Blackbird
10. Stammer
11. A Thousand Kisses Deep [Leonard Cohen]


Andrew Philip said...

Good day yesterday and good to see you, Rob. Sorry I missed seeing Andy and Cheryl. (They were Franconian poets, by the way, not Bavarian.) Wasn't bowled over by Fenton and Mitchell, but I'll blog about that.

apprentice said...

Nice to see you at a couple of events. I agree that Kleinzahler gave a great performance. Janice Galloway on Edward Lear was also wonderful performance, the level of research was superb and she crafted her ending to read across to Annie Freud's piece on T S Eliot.

Penelope Shuttle's masterclass was also very good, Trish Ace had a poem featured.

Cailleach said...

Wow - StAnza sounds like it was great. It's on my list of things to do next year, so I can't wait!