Home > Blog, Literature > StAnza 2010 – Paddy’s Day Opening and Beat Poetry Thursday

StAnza 2010 – Paddy’s Day Opening and Beat Poetry Thursday

An unintentional, though appropriate, link to my last post; Guinness. Sank a few last night after filling up on white wine and the odd drop of uisce beatha. A fantastic opening night featuring poetry from Jamaican Kei Miller, who agrees with me on some crucial Facebook discussion points. Kei is in the opening night podcast, which can be found here. I also met the lively Jay Barnard, who is this year’s artist in residence.

A thoroughly enjoyable event this afternoon, on the first full day of events at StAnza 10, with Colin Will discussing Gregory Corso and Matthew Sweeney talking translation and Georg Trakl.

The big difference with StAnza compared to some other festivals is that the poets have little place to hide. They don’t seem to want to either. There is a pervasive sense of calmness and community. Douglas Dunn sits comfortably next to me while I, star-struck, mumble to someone about his Elegies. I couldn’t help grinning wildly when Seamus Heaney was pointed out to me. The man translated Beowulf, brilliantly, he is very close to demi-god status. We all idle along side-by-side, I feel awkward every time my head suggests I ask for an autograph.

There are no minders and if there are agents they keep a low profile. They are not sheperded into a specific author’s area, they are happy to mingle. It is never more than ten minutes to walk to the next event. The wind and the rain haven’t really got serious so far either. I met a man sitting in a cardboard box asking people to donate poems. Odd; but charming none-the-less. Tonight Heaney is on stage at 8pm, then there is an open mic and afterwards I will probably sip a few more Guinness.

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