For aw oor talk o social-media silos an political division, it wis 2020, mair than ony ither year, that sindert us frae each ither. The pandemic an the lockdoons that follaed pit wider gaps atween us than ony culture war ever could; an cowpin intae thon gaps, the muckle sílences wance occupied by freends an faimily, blethers an crack, fell oor verra language. On the empty wynds an the narrae streets, Scots, a leid that survives day tae day anely by wird o mooth, wis suddenly naewhaur tae be heard. Sae it wis aw the mair important that oor leid had in place the safety net that has lang haudit it up, as it swung in the wheesht air abuin lang oblivion – poetry. The Scots poems in this year’s selection represent somethin mair than jist the airt that shapit them. In 2020, onybody that set theirsels tae scrievin in Scots hunkert doon by the aizles o a dwynin fire, an wi their ain scant breith an shelterin hauns ettled tae keep it alicht.