By which of course I mean the link for the StAnza poetry festival at stanzapoetry.org
And no I don't just mean to buy ten tickets for events at this year’s festival.
But booking tickets could be reason number one. This year it’s 2-6 March, which is hardly any time away at all. But it’s still the ‘early bird’ window, so prices are cheaper right now and I saved £15.40 by forking out somewhat more than this. (I live in Fife, about 22 miles from St Andrews, where the festival is held, so this is my local poetry event.)
Two: maybe you’re thinking about going but haven’t made your mind up yet. You can read a little about each of this year’s performers. Should you bother, shouldn’t you? Take a look. They’re in alphabetical order with a link. Neat. Most of the workshops are already sold out. Yikes.
Three: maybe you will get some tickets then. You can browse events day by day, and the titles link to a page with more info, which in turns links to the Byre Theatre booking facility. You can add to your basket bit by bit. The Byre website doesn’t work as well as the StAnza website, in that you have to scroll through the whole festival to get to your event each time. But the Stanza end is brilliant and I don’t think I’ve booked any events that conflict with each other this time. In fact, oh wow, oh wow, they've got a new thing: a matrix of events so you can see at a glance what's on and when, including clashes.
Four: So you’re going (skip to point five if this is not you). Perhaps you want to play the game of Spot the Poet as you wander round the streets of historic St Andrews. You can go to the Flickr gallery and browse some beautiful photos of participants.
Five: But maybe you can’t go. You can still spend a long time on this website, which has just morphed into a whole new look. You could take a look at the Poetry Map, for example, Scotland mapped out in poems about its places. Such a fun idea!
Six: would you like a taste of digital slam? Scrolling through past pages of the blog, you can (among other things) read about Stephen Watt, who was the 2014 Digital Slam winner. Digital what? No Watt. There’s a link a video of his winning performance. Just lovely. The blog also has a lovely section of podcasts from past events. You can stay on this site all day.
Seven: Sometimes the whole business of arts festivals seems remote and clever. A mystery that it happens at all. But you can see the people behind it: who they are and how it works. The whole story of how a festival grows, in fact, and how it’s put together year by year.
Eight: Want to read at a festival? How do the people on the programme get on the programme? StAnza has a great page telling you some of the background, including what sort of track record you might need, how to offer yourself as a performer, and when.
Nine: Curious about other poets, and who has read at StAnza and when? You can explore past festivals, including all the performers who have ever popped up on the programme, when and in what capacity. This has often been useful to me when reading up about a particular poet. As one does.
Ten: There’s all sorts of bits and pieces of additional interest. Articles and reviews about past festivals. A little specially commissioned video by Daniel Warren about StAnza 2012 – on the home page, just scroll right down and you’ll see the picture of cheeses. Click on it and before you know it, you’re at Leuchars Station. I'll meet you there.