Edinburgh Alphabet – an A-Z Exhibition of the City’s collections

For the first time hundreds of items from the City’s collections are on display at the City Art Centre. Many of Edinburgh’s poets have been inspired to write a poem based on one of the exhibits. There are readings in the Museum of Edinburgh, Canongate (2pm-2.30pm) on July 15th, 21st,27th and August 3rd; and later at the City Art Centre (11am-11.30am) on September 16th, 22nd and 27th. Do come along to these free events.

Letter to Robert Burns

Earl of Buchan’s letter of advice to Robert Burns

Here’s one of my attempts at a poem in response to an exhibit!

Scaling Parnassus

Letter from the Earl of Buchan to Robert Burns 1/2/1787

That Earl of Buchan who wrote you, Burns,
seems a bit of a blowhard: couldn’t resist
letting you know he’d ordered six copies
of your book from Lady Glencairn’s list.
His advice: Keep your Eye upon Parnassus
and drink deep of the fountains of Helicon.

He didn’t think your little doric pieces displayed
your metal; and your provincial dialect was apt
to trap your talent. He was sure English
would empower you, let you demonstrate
the extent of your genius, attempt works
of greater magnitude, variety and importance.

Did you think to ask the fine Lady Glencairn
‘what’s English for “tha man’s haverin”?’