Friday, February 02, 2007

StAnza launch

Some friends and I went to the StAnza launch last night. The event's aim was to give a flavour of the things that will be on this year. It is a densely pack programme of goodies, so the taster proved to be a wee bit indigestible in parts as the readers wanted to do justice to the full range of events.

This was the blurb for the night:

"Bernard MacLaverty speaks on the place of poetry in his life and work as a writer.

Plus: StAnza Directors Brian Johnstone & Eleanor Livingstone read selections from festival headline poets Mark Strand, Jorie Graham, Gwyneth Lewis, George Szirtes, Jackie Kay, Ruth Padel, Roy Fisher, Sean O’Brien, Alastair Reid and Mimi Khalvati. StAnza Chairman Colin Will flags up the festival themes Homelands & Exile and Poetry & the Moving Image and highlights the main events of the 10th StAnza Festival. Come and celebrate 10 years of StAnza."

Colin Will did a good job in setting out the themes for the festival and I really liked Bernard MacLaverty's piece, which was witty and engaging. I also liked his daughter's poem, which was written about the view from her bed. She suffers from poor health and the poem was all about seeing the man across the road in his window, but only in winter as they were cut off by the trees in the summer.
We met him in a pizza place afterwards, and he told us that the piece of his own prose that he read had the same theme as the Edwin Morgan poem Trio.

Coming up Buchanan Street, quickly, on a sharp winter evening

a young man and two girls, under the Christmas lights -

The young man carries a new guitar in his arms,

the girl on the inside carries a very young baby,

and the girl on the outside carries a chihuahua.

And the three of them are laughing, their breath rises

in a cloud of happiness, and as they pass

the boy says, "Wait till he sees this but!"

The chihuahua has a tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapot-


the baby in its white shawl is all bright eyes and mouth like

favours in a fresh sweet cake,

the guitar swells out under its milky plastic cover, tied at the neck

with silver tinsel tape and a brisk sprig of mistletoe.

Orphean sprig! Melting baby! Warm chihuahua!

The vale of tears is powerless before you.

Whether Christ is born, or is not born, you

put paid to fate, it abdicates

under the Christmas lights.

Monsters of the year

go blank, are scattered back,

can't bear this march of three.

And the three have passed, vanished in the crowd

(yet not vanished, for in their arms they wind

the life of men and beasts, and music,

laughter ringing them round like a guard)

at the end of this winter's day

Morgan seems to be everywhere just now, and justifiably so.

We've also learned that our other writing friend has been told that she only has weeks to live. She's asked for each of us to call round in turn and we're going to set up a wee roster to sit with her. She has family around until midweek, and then they have to go home for a bit. She's anxious about her funeral, so maybe we can help her to get a hold of any readings that she'd like.

She says it all feels rather surreal, and I can completely understand that feeling.
It's hard to believe that we were all working together to produce our First Aid Kit show only last October.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

anna so far can't get into either of your comment boxes.

3:43 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Think Blogger is playing up, bits of my blog keep disappearing.

4:21 pm  
Blogger Cailleach said...

That's heartbreaking news Apprentice about your friend. The only thing I can think of is a hug, so a virtual one will have to do.

The Muir poem is beautiful! and lucky you at stAnza!

9:34 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Thanks, I'm sad about it, we'd only got to know each other this last year and I thought as a group of women that we'd all have a lot more time together.

11:46 pm  

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