Gaelic language to be celebrated at poetry festival

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, is celebrating the Gaelic language through a number of events and readings at this year’s annual festival which has moved online in response to Covid-19.

StAnza’s 2021 programme includes a Gaelic reading by Christopher Whyte, a trendsetting Gaelic poet and translator now based in Central Europe. Christopher’s sixth collection Ceum air cheum / Step by step was nominated for two national prizes, and he’s played a fundamental role in queering the Gaelic tradition. Christopher will read in Gaelic with English subtitles alongside Australian poet Jane Frank in Poetry Centre Stage.

StAnza will also be showcasing the Welsh, Irish and Scots Gaelic filmpoem project, Bàrd – File – Bardd. This collaborative film project features poets from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to share and explore the links and dynamics of the Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages, reflected in the title of the project, the word for ‘poet’ in each language. Ifor ap Glyn, Peter Mackay, Ciara ní É and Pól Mag Uidhir will also host a live webcast, Meet the Artist, to discuss the project.

Gaelic poet Peter Mackay will feature in Found in translation: from StAnza to Skopje along with Tania Hershman, Mitko Gogov and Katica Kulavkova, exploring poetry between Britain and North Macedonia. This project, funded by British Council Literature’s Working Internationally grant programme and in partnership with Ex Libris International Poetry Festival Skopje, is bringing together the four poets over a six month period to produce translations and new creative versions.

Finally, recognising how much time we’ve all spent at home over the last year and inspired by the WindowSwap project, StAnza invited a range of poets from the UK and elsewhere to swap photographs taken from their own window, and to write poems responding to the photograph they have been sent. This installation features a Gaelic commissioned poem by Robbie MacLeòid. Robbie was partnered with Kartanya Maynard, an Aboriginal Tasmanian poet who incorporates the palawi kani language in her writing.

Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone said: “Our 2021 programme includes a strong Gaelic element through a number of readings and events as part of our commitment to celebrating the diverse languages and cultures of Scotland. StAnza traditionally has a strong international focus and this year’s programme is no different with a fantastic line-up of acclaimed poets from both here in Scotland and all around the world.”

StAnza is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. This year’s festival will include traditional StAnza favourites such as readings and round table events, and new events to capture the full potential of the digital realm, including interactive poetry installations, ‘At Home’ events with poets and an enhanced filmpoem and sound poem programme. The programme will also include a series of installations which can be enjoyed by those with little or no access to the internet. More than 100 poets will take part in around 50 events over nine days.

Find our more about StAnza HERE.