Sunday's poetic jamboree… was an ambitious experiment. Would the 100 individualists, including some major names, read and offer a responsive audience to each other for five hours? […]They certainly let off verbal fireworks in St Andrews on Sunday.
Lesley Duncan, The Herald
…pleasantly surprising was the overall quality of the readings. I must confess that my first thought on learning of the event was to question whether there were 100 poets worth hearing in Scotland. Nevertheless, there were excellent contributions from critically acclaimed writers [and] the fact the event could go ahead without some of the 'big guns'… is testament in itself.
Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday
…one of this year's key festival themes, Homelands and Exile…proved a fruitful thread for the festival's tenth birthday year, running through many of the events. Themes of belonging and dislocation, travel and immigration are naturally part of writing - and life - in a world where borders are crossed so easily.
Susan Mansfield, The Scotsman
[It was] Scotland's largest poetry gathering… and of course it's suitably poetic, too. An inspired idea, then, for the festival's last day. It was Alastair Reid, however, who provided a truly fiery finale,,, his poem Scotland …has subsequently, he said, become fastened to him "like a ball and chain" and it was time to rid himself of it. Taking from his pocket what he later insisted was the original of the poem, he then proceeded to burn it. A hundred poets cheered, and their gala reading - which ended, to everyone's surprise, absolutely on time, came to a dramatically successful conclusion.
David Robinson, The Scotsman
Poetry is a generous art form, feeding its inspiration willingly... There were poems that made us smile and think, and poems that left us disturbed, puzzled or enlightened. On Saturday night, courtesy of two of the country's finest performance poets, there was also laughter. While poetry is many things, the people at StAnza have not forgotten that one of them is fun.
Susan Mansfield, The Scotsman
The hub was the Byre theatre, a place of clean lines, light space and dark auditoriums. Tickets were sold, food consumed: conversations were begun, interrupted and restarted. The last night party began with style. A Balkan style band struck a folksy beat and some of the most gifted poets of our generation got on with the serious task of consuming beer… I left early. It was a fairly long drive back. Poetry oscillated softly in my mind as snow speeded towards the windscreen.
Hannah Adcock, Textualities.com
It’s a gey surreal experience tae be in St Andrews during StAnza … the Scottish poetry warld’s version o Cannes wi aw thae kenspekle faces aw melled intae ae sma space, tho there wis nae sign o the bling that’s threapit tae be in Cannes. […] It wis braw tae be … in this temporary village o poets whaur the only bling in sicht wis the sparkle of thair talent.
Irene Broon, Scots Tung Wittins
StAnza … marks its tenth birthday this year with a programme that celebrates the impact it has made over the past decade. From fairly modest beginnings, StAnza has established itself as a highlight of the literary calendar, attracting major poets from home and abroad.
Scottish Arts Council, www.scottisharts.co.uk
A beautifully run festival. I will encourage people to go. All those poets! All those good poems! It was a lovely time, a terrific festival.
StAnza gave me four days of sheer pleasure – the conversations, the company, the warmth and generosity of spirit, the listening attention – and a zest that was all too rare in the “old St Andrews”.
It was an enormous pleasure taking part in the StAnza Festival this year – all the organisers involved, were so unbelievably welcoming, warm, helpful and appreciative as were the MCs who hosted my events with such generosity and grace. It was a really exceptional experience for me, St Andrews is so beautiful, and the festival itself so full of delights. It was also lovely to meet so many wonderful writers in the one place. StAnza is now definitely my favourite festival!
I’d like to congratulate you on what I experienced in my all-too-short stay with StAnza. I've been passing around my high opinion of the quality of the management of the whole thing and of the warmth that accompanied the efficiency. What a splendid group of people. I can say from rather tired experience that there are prestigious festivals that tend to rest complacently on their publicity once they've got the poets into town, so that there's not the active and continuous support that marked StAnza. I'm glad to know that you're able to sense success after the event – best of luck.
I was so impressed by the festival, its breadth, quality and the superb organisation behind it, and proud to contribute a small part. I was particularly impressed by the audiences, how attentive and poetry-loving they were, and the fact that every event I attended or took part in was packed. I came away with the distinct impression that Scotland is the land of poetry. I will recommend this festival to everyone.
Thanks for your kindness and your generosity. I had a wonderful time in St Andrews, and attended great events The festival was brilliant and all the performers were more than brilliant – and congratulations on the organisation of the whole festival.
Another splendid StAnza. Great readings and the usual care and attention to detail that makes StAnza such a pleasure to participate in.
The festival left me with such a joyous feeling. I loved that it was small enough to feel comfortable and that one could talk to anybody - though I think that probably has more to do with you as organisers, inspiring the whole feel of it - and yet large enough to feel exciting and that there was great variety. It felt exceptionally open. I thought it was put together and ran wonderfully well. Thank you for a very enriching time indeed.
There seems to be something special about StAnza - a special atmosphere, concentrated in the Byre but radiating outwards, that I haven't seen or felt at any other festival in which I've participated.
What a pleasure this year's Stanza was! It's a fantastic festival, fun and stimulating…
Such excellent hospitality and organisation throughout.
You did it absolutely beautifully. I loved it all, and loved the spirit of it – and all the helpers were terrific – it was PERFECT.
A truly enjoyable few days, with an inspiring selection of poets. The hospitality and friendliness of organisers, guests and volunteers alike made me feel very welcome. Congratulations on such a success!.
A pleasure to be part of StAnza... Beautifully set and immaculately run. Both are quite rare in poetry events as you know!
So pleasurable again! - but only because the organisation is so tight and the focus so clear. If poetry is a generous art form, it never feels so open and so generous as it does at StAnza.
While the fire is still blazing in my brain, this is me saying thanks for this year's (and every other year's) StAnza. It was a privilege to take part, and a pleasure to have been so well looked after, as well as a most stimulating experience.
Thank you for giving me such a wonderful week at Stanza. A festival like yours can only happen when the people who run it have sound values and impressive organisational skills. This attracts good people to the events – from the volunteers to the audience – and the quality shines through.
Thank you for a fine festival and all the care and friendliness of your huge team of volunteers. I loved it all. Normal life's a bit flat.
Congratulations on such an excellent festival. It was a real pleasure - everyone - your entire team - was very friendly and efficient. Nice audiences too!
I spend magnificent days in St. Andrews and I created good image about contemporary British and especially Scottish poetry. So thank you for hospitality and good organisation.
Thank you to you for organising such a wonderful festival and inviting me to participate. I had a great time.
Congratulations on a fabulous festival - great atmosphere. Very inspiring. Marvellous atmosphere; genuinely part of the town.
Thank you for such a wonderful festival – it was a delight to appear at StAnza and to be so well looked after.
Siobhan Mac Mahon
Thank you for a wonderful festival and all your hard work. I had a lovely time and really enjoyed the whole atmosphere – I was delighted to be a part of it.
So much enjoyed the frolics and fraternity. Learned stuff. Met folk. Sang in the bar. Hooray for StAnza.