StAnza is one of the top poetry festivals in the UK, famous for its friendly atmosphere and international focus. Over five days from 7th to 11th March more than 80 readings, performances, discussions, poetry inspired installations and exhibitions and other cross-media performances will take place in a range of atmospheric venues in and around the historic and lively town of St Andrews, Scotland. Tickets are on sale now for StAnza’s 21st festival, 20 years after the first in 1998. This special year, along with 2017’s 20th festival is being celebrated as a two year “StAnza 20:20 Vision” project.
StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival is to bring a flavour of the Netherlands and Flanders to its 2018 programme with a dedicated focus on the languages and cultures of the Low Countries, Dutch, Flemish and Frisian under the title Going Dutch. As well as showcasing poets from Flanders and the Netherlands, the festival will have a selection of installations and exhibitions, giving audiences an insight into the poetry scene from this part of the world. Two Dutch Frisian poets will take also take part in a translation workshop with two Scottish poets, producing new versions of poetry during the festival, and this year’s Guest Blogger at StAnza will be a Dutch cycling blogger.
A number of award winning Dutch, Flemish and Frisian poets will be among the big names from the literary world reading and performing at StAnza in March including the Dutch Poet Laureate Ester Naomi Perquin along with Jan Baeke, Thomas Möhlmann, Frank Starik, Tsead Bruinja, Sigrid Kingma, Geart Tigchelaar, Lies Van Gasse, Maud Vanhauwaert and Andy Fierens. As well as individual poets, the festival programme also includes various events celebrating poetry and culture from the Nethelands and Flanders.
Jan Baeke is a poet, digital poet, translator, editor and curator. In 1997 his first collection of poetry, entitled Nooit zonder de paarden (Never without the Horses), was published. His fourth collection Groter dan de feiten (Bigger than the Facts), published in 2007, was nominated for the VSB Poetry Award, the most prestigious poetry award in the Netherlands. His latest collection, Seizoensroddel (Season’s Gossip), was awarded the Jan Campert Award 2017 for best poetry collection. A selection of poems from his first two collections appeared in an English translation, under the title Exercise against Time. He has translated poets including Liz Lochhead and Derek Walcott into Dutch. Jan is currently the curator and programmer for the Poetry International Foundation.
Thomas Möhlmann has published four books of poetry in Dutch and compiled eleven poetry anthologies in the Netherlands, Macedonia, Argentina, Colombia and the UK. He teaches at the ArtEZ Academy of Arts in Arnhem and the Amsterdam Writers Academy, and is one of the editors of Dutch poetry magazine Awater. His first collection, De vloeibare jongen (The Liquid Boy) was shortlisted for the C. Buddingh’ Award for new Dutch language poetry, and awarded the prestigious Lucy B. & C.W. van der Hoogt Award. His most recent collection is Ik was een hond (I was a Dog). Thomas is also one of the poets behind Game of Poems: a project in which poetry responds to Game of Thrones.
Ester Naomi Perquin attended creative writing classes in Amsterdam and worked as a prison guard to finance her studies. Her debut volume, Servetten halfstok (Napkins half-mast), appeared in 2007 and was followed in 2009 by the collection Namens de ander (On Behalf of the Other). Perquin is a host for the VPRO radio show Nooit Meer Slapen (Never Sleep Again). In 2011 she was appointed Rotterdam’s poet laureate. She has received a number of awards for her work, including the prestigious VSB Poetry Award for best collection of the year for her third volume, Celinspecties (Cell inspections), published in 2012. In 2017, shortly after publishing her latest collection Meervoudig afwezig (Multiple absence), Ester Naomi Perquin became the Dutch Poet Laureate. The Hunger in Plain View, her first collection in English, was recently published by White Pine Press (USA).
Frank Starik is a poet and writer based in Amsterdam. He was the city’s poet laureate from 2010-2012. Starik originated the Lonely Funeral project in Amsterdam in 2002. He has published two anthologies about the project: De eenzame uitvaart (The Lonely Funeral, 2005) and Een steek diep (As Deep as a Stabbing, 2011). Selections from both books were published in Austria and the UK. He’s also written ten volumes of poetry, as well as some prose. He was once the singer in an unsuccessful band, Willem Kloos Groep, who played loud music to texts by dead poets.
Tsead Bruinja is a poet living in Amsterdam. He made his debut in 2000 with the Frisian-language collection entitled De wizers yn it read (The Watch Hands in Red). Bruinja’s debut in the Dutch language, Dat het zo horde (That it was supposed to be like that), was published in 2003, and was nominated for the Jo Peters Poetry Award the following year. Tsead compiles anthologies, writes critical reviews, teaches creative writing, hosts literary events and performs in the Netherlands and abroad.
Sigrid Kingma is an experienced stage performer. She combines different arts, such as dance and music, with poetry. Returning themes in her poems are new mass media, gaming, science and nostalgia. Her poetry is connected to all kinds of matters that concern Friesland. Her first work was published in 2016, and is a bilingual Frisian/English collection entitled Reade triedleas/Red wireless. In 2017 she was awarded a nomination to be Poet of Friesland.
Geart Tigchelaar is a Frisian poet, writer, and translator living in Ljouwert. For his work he has won the Tamminga Price for his poetry debut leech hert yn nij jek (Empty Heart in a new Jacket) in 2017 and the Obe Postma price for his translation of Erik of it lyts ynsekteboek (Erik in the Land of Insects) in 2016. He is currently working on his second novel, and he is eager to start on a new poetry collection. Besides that, he is an editor of the literary journal Ensafh, a bike traveller, and drummer in the doommetal band Doomwâld. He will be the StAnza 2018 Guest Blogger.
Lies Van Gasse made her debut in 2008 with the collection Hetzelfde gedicht steeds weer (The Same Poem Time and Again), which immediately captured the attention of readers and critics. Trained as an artist, Lies often collaborates on art and poetry projects. She also creates her own combinations of text and image, in what she calls “graphic poems”. With Annemarie Estor, Lies developed a project based on the story of Kaspar Hauser, which has since been collected in The Book of Hauser. As part of their collaborative procedure, each week Estor and Van Gasse wrote an illustrated postcard to each other on which they wrote a new stanza. Van Gasse’s most recent poetry collection is Wassende stad (Waxing City, 2017).
Maud Vanhauwaert is a writer and theatre performer. Her first poetry album, Ik ben mogelijk (I am possible), was awarded the Women’s Debut Award. Her second book, Wij zijn evenwijdig (We are parallel), can be read as a poetry collection, as a meandering story, or as a compilation of sad jokes. It was awarded the Herman de Coninck Public Award and the Hughues C. Pernath Award. Maud examines creative ways to bring poetry on stage. She has performed in different countries, won the Frappant TXT competition and was a finalist in the poetry slam world championships and in the prestigious Leids Cabaret Festival. Maud obtained a master’s degree in Literature and Linguistics at the University of Antwerp and another at the Theatre Academy of Antwerp, where she currently teaches.
Andy Fierens (pictured in header) is a hyperenergetic Belgian poet and performer with more than 1,500 shows under his belt. He fires his sharp and witty words loud and relentlessly at audiences all over the world, from France to Canada, via Japan and South Africa. In 2009 he debuted with the collection Big Filthy Butterfly, which was awarded the Herman de Coninck debut award. His latest collection of poetry was Wonderbras & Pepperspray (2014). Together with Michael Brijs he wrote the sci-fi novel Astronaut of Orange. Dutch newspaper De Groene Amsterdammer hailed him as “the only poet who has stayed true to his punk roots.” When he is not on the road on his own, he can also be found performing with his band Andy & The Androids or with his choir The Horny Bazookas. His work is sometimes described as social surrealism. Andy lives and works in Antwerp.
Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone said: “We’re delighted to be bringing a focus on poetry from Flanders and the Netherlands to this year’s programme under the title Going Dutch and look forward to welcoming Dutch, Flemish and Frisian poets to Fife, Scotland to celebrate the vibrant and diverse literary scene from the low countries.”