Bookworm: Rhyme and reason
POETS might not be the most organised of people, but the organisers of StAnza, Scotland’s international Poetry Festival, certainly are.
The closure of the Byre Theatre at St Andrews on 26 January not only knocked out their main venue (at which they had been planning to hold no fewer than 53 events) but also deprived them of a functioning box office for the festival, which runs from 6-10 March.
Festival director Eleanor Livingstone has secured the services of not just one but two box offices. Dundee Rep is now selling StAnza tickets through its online box office, and the VisitScotland team at 70 Market Street, St Andrews, are selling tickets in person and over the phone.
The opening event – RiverRun, a multi-media celebration of Dublin in poetry, imagery and music – is now being held in the new theatre in the Medical and Biological Sciences Building.
For the rest of the fest, the Town Hall in Queens Gardens will replace the Byre as the festival’s hub. “The Supper Room there will be transformed into a lively, bustling place to meet friends and make friends, chill out, rev up and people-watch as poets from around the world arrive to check in at the festival,” promises Livingstone.
There will also be a bar - which, you might have noticed, always tends to go down well with poets.
Found in translation
RiverRun, as you all know, is the first word in Finnegans Wake, and for most of us, that’s all we do actually know about Joyce’s final work. Some people last week may have been surprised to read that it had become a bestseller in Shanghai in its Chinese translation.
They shouldn’t have been. Joyce’s Ulysses was THE big Chinese publishing hit of 1994 in translation by Xiao Qian – a remarkable man who married four times, had an affair with EM Foster and covered the liberation of Auschwitz as China’s only war correspondent.
Normally, one of my great joys at StAnza would have been bumping into Gavin Wallace, head of the Scottish Arts Council’s literature department and its equivalent on Creative Scotland. His death at the age of 53 robs all his friends of that pleasure. For his unshowy intelligence, kindness, and wisdom, he will be much missed.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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