StAnza: Scotland's International Poetry Festival kicks off on 16 March at 5.30pm with special guest BBC Scotland's Tom Morton, who will introduce some of the poets: our first ever Gaelic Poet-in-Residence Maoilios Caimbeul, USA poet Kevin Young and Australia's Lidija Simkute will provide a taster of the poetry feast to come. The Byre will be buzzing with live traditional music, while Poetry Theatre's strolling players will perform impromptu poems to order. This is also the first chance to view StAnza's art exhibitions and meet the curators and some of the artists. Words and music, though, are the theme of the evening ahead, with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and mezzo soprano Karen Cargill performing in a concert at the Younger Hall, and the Edinburgh's Forest Café's fabulous Golden Hour at the Byre Theatre.
The launch is the prelude to four days of great events from centre stage readings to performances, slam competitions, jazz and poetry nights, with over a dozen poetry related art exhibitions, installations and films. The festival line up is headed by Ciarán Carson, Selima Hill, Douglas Dunn, Paul Farley, Julia Donaldson, Philip Gross and from the USA, Marilyn Hacker and the ‘King of Slam', Bob Holman. Among the other international names are Chinese poet, Yang Lian, Germany's Durs Grünbein and poets from Italy, Belgium, Georgia, Iraq and Australia. Among the plethora of talks and discussions there's the chance to hear James McGonigal talk about writing his biography of the late, great Scottish poet Edwin Morgan (read James'article here) and the prestigious StAnza Lecture, given by poet and critic Robert Crawford.
On Sunday 20 March, members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the University of St Andrews Chamber Orchestra will be performing - for the very first time - the winning entries in StAnza's music competition. Run in partnership with the SCO and the University of St Andrews Music Centre, the competition invited young composers to create settings to poems by the Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean.
For the full programme and booking details, visit the StAnza website.