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.