Kathleen Jamie represents poetry at Visit Scotland event
Scotland’s Makar Kathleen Jamie spoke at the international launch of the events programme for Visit Scotland’s 2022 themed year. In a recording made at the Scottish Poetry Library just off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Kathleen outlined the vitality of poetry in Scotland’s cultural life, both today and across the ages.
Speaking alongside Scottish Government’s Minister for Culture, Europe & International Development Jenny Gilruth MSP and Visit Scotland Chief Executive Malcom Roughhead, Kathleen said “poetry is an integral part of our national culture, and has been for an extremely long time. Poetry is of all the people. The humble working class people – Robert Burns is the great example – to the kings and the court. My job as Makar is to encourage poetry but frankly I don’t think it needs much encouragement; it’s as strong now as it ever was.”
Visit Scotland say that “Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 embodies the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland”, and the themed year will be backed up by a “nationwide programme of more than 60 events, presented by a range of partners from national organisations to community groups.”
Kathleen Jamie recently co-edited The Golden Treasury of Scottish Verse, along with fellow editors Don Paterson and Peter MacKay. This collection showcases centuries of Scotland’s poetic tradition, from the medieval Makars to the 21st century. This poetic legacy was central to her message on the themed year.
She took her audience on a talking tour of the Royal Mile, showing off the Makar’s Court, where lines of poetry are incised in the flagstones of a court in by the Writer’s Museum. Next on the itinerary is the handsome statue of Edinburgh vernacular poet Robert Fergusson, who did so much to energise the Scots Language renaissance in verse in the 18th century. Jamie ponders whether “if we had had no Fergusson, would we have had a Burns?”
The poems set in stone on the side of Holyrood parliament are visited and reflected upon.
Poetry will feature at events across the Year of Scotland’s Stories. Included in the announcement are the projection of poems onto buildings as part of Spectra, Scotland’s festival of light in Aberdeen in February, StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, in March, and of course Scotland’s many book festivals across the year. View the full events programme at Visit Scotland’s website here.