Scotland’s International Poetry Festival Hits St Andrews

St Andrews is a pretty hard place to keep anything a secret – whether it’s a house party on Market Street or your hook-up from the Lizard – and yet some things just seem to slip under the radar of students.

StAnza is one such event. Despite being the biggest and most acclaimed poetry festival in Scotland, and the fact that it explodes over venues all over the town, most students have never even heard of it.

As an eager young fresher, I volunteered at workshops, open mics, readings and slams, with events on everywhere from the Byre to Zest. I heard small wizened English poets, Canadian Rastafarian dub-poets, angry Jamaican political poets: some I stood in awe of, some joined me at beach bonfires, some changed my whole perspective.

This is an opportuntiy for students from any school to be part of something truly international, all within the bounds of our Bubble.

Headliners include Jackie Kay, Scottish poet and partner of Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, as well as some eighty other poets, artists, film-maker and story-tellers. This year’s festival is based around the themes of The Image and Poetry by Degrees, tying in with St Andrews’ history as a home of photography, and exploring iconography and the psychology of perception.


Whether you’re in the mood for an indie film screening (Submarine on Thursday), jazz-poem fusions or creativity workshops, take a break from the fluorescent lighting of the library and get inspired. And look out for the kilted man performing poems on demand on South Street. He’s very charming.

StAnza runs from 14th-18th March across town, with the Byre as its hub and venues everywhere from Parliament Hall to the Undercroft. Check out the full programme of events.