War Poetry at the Front Line for StAnza 2014

As Scotland prepares to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War next year, StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, unveils plans for its 2014 festival theme Words Under Fire.

Taking place from 5-9 March 2014 as part of Homecoming Scotland, the festival will include a world class collection of war poets, exhibitions and poetry events highlighting the poetic legacy of WW1 and other wars.

Poets announced today include John Greening, whose forthcoming collection To the War Poets explores what happens when a modern poet sends dispatches across the decades; Jenny Lewis, whose latest book is an account of the Iraq wars of the past 100 years, and Alex Gwyther’s spoken word story of the Christmas truce from 1915. 

A major mixed media installation by artist Stephen Raw originally opened in London by Poet Laureate and StAnza 2014 headliner Carol Ann Duffy, will be displayed in the Town Hall in St Andrews.  ‘Was it for this the Clay Grew Tall’ has been inspired by the poetry of Wilfred Owen and the music of Benjamin Britten in his choral masterpiece, the War Requiem.  The Poet Laureate has described the exhibition as “a timely, truly visionary response to the genius of both Wilfred Owen and Benjamin Britten and to the pity and horror of war."

Headliner David Constantine will give the StAnza lecture, ‘The Great War at Home and Abroad’, exploring not only war poetry written in English but also some from France and Germany.

StAnza 2014’s popular Past and Present events will also have a war focus, with modern war poets celebrating the work of the past, including Alexander Hutchison on David Jones, author of In Parenthesis.

Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone said:

“The war poetry from 1914-18 still has an impact on readers today, and we are delighted to welcome a range of accomplished poets who have engaged with it, some with new collections published in the run up to the WW1 centenary.

 “Stephen Raw’s exciting installation crosses art forms to interpret musical and poetic visions of war, while our past and present sessions give audiences the opportunity to consider war poetry from a modern perspective.

“These poets and artists not only remind us of the legacy of the poetry of the Great War but that war poetry continues to have relevance today.

“We look forward to announcing more poets and events over the coming months.”

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