Wednesday, March 25, 2009

StAnza 2009 - The Poets' Market

The Poets’ Market was held downstairs in the town hall this year and there seemed to be far more people milling about than on any similar events I can remember from previous years. The room was on the small side, but at least it was jammed full at various points throughout the afternoon. And people were buying books, chapbooks and magazines. Good to see!

I was co-staffing half a table with Andrew Philip, which carried our books and those of Alexander Hutchison - three quarters of Salt’s Scottish-based poetry contingent (Tom Pow was unable to get to StAnza this year). It was definitely worth doing, both for the books we sold and for the chance to meet lots of people. On the other half of our table were James and Marianne Robertson from Kettillonia Press, which has produced some brilliant poetry chapbooks in the last few years. They also seemed to be doing good business.

Also behind stalls were Magma magazine, HappenStance Press, Claire Askew, and a whole load of other people, some of whom I didn’t realise were there until other people mentioned them afterwards. It was busy and I didn’t get near some of the tables.

Andy P and I looked after our stall in shifts and during my break, I headed for the Criterion Bar where I met AB Jackson for a pint. Roddy Lumsden soon appeared. The rugby was on. There were screens all over the bar and most people (including Hugh McMillan) were watching it, so we were conspicuous for paying the screens no attention. The rugby was going badly and the atmosphere became subdued. I left Roddy and ABJ to return to my post at the Poets’ Market. For probably the first time ever, I had been outselling Andy P, but by the time I’d returned from the pub, he’d caught up with me. He is a bookselling machine!

It was a good event and, despite the space being too small, a real improvement on previous attempts.

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