St Leonards immersed itself in verse as StAnza, Scotland’s international poetry festival, descended upon St Andrews for its eighteenth outing. Festival events began at the School with Shetland-based poet Sheenagh Pugh’s reading to a full auditorium of Year 8 and 10 students, while Clare Mulley, StAnza’s current Poet in Residence, visited a Year 11 English class. A number of staff and students also attended a performance of Bedazzled – A Welshman in New York, which tells the story of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’s life in 1950s New York.
Boys and girls at St Leonards not only appreciate poetry, however: they also produce it! The theme of the StAnza 2015 Young People’s Poetry Competition was “Food and Drink” and St Leonards maintained its record of success in the contest as students ranging from the Junior School to the Sixth Form were winners in all three categories. Grace Adam (Year 6) secured 2nd place in the Primary category, while Thomas Oliver Johnston (Year 9) and Johnny Harris (Year 8) respectively won 1st and 3rd places in the Intermediate category and Hannah Baxter (Sixth Form) and Andrew Wells (Year 10) were awarded 2nd and 3rd places in the Senior category. These exciting young voices were recognised by children’s poet Chrissie Gittins at a prize-giving ceremony which took place at the Byre Theatre.
StAnza Winning St Leonards Poems
St Leonards was also delighted to sponsor and host two StAnza events this year. The School first welcomed leading American poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Alice Notley to its beautiful Green Room for a conversation with J L Williams, fellow poet and Programme Manager of the Scottish Poetry Library. Later in the day, poetry lovers were treated to a special intimate reading with Simon Armitage, the award-winning writer and broadcaster who received a CBE in 2010 for his services to poetry.