Library event marks makar's 'farewell'

Stewart Conn
Stewart Conn
Photo © Gunnie

Research at the National Library of Scotland has helped Edinburgh's first official 'makar' create a colourful sequence of poems about possibly the capital's first poet.

Stewart Conn's new collection, entitled 'Ghosts at Cockcrow', features a section specifically about Roull of Corstorphin, one of the poets named in 'Lament for The Makars' by 15th century poet William Dunbar. 'Makar' is an old Scots word for poet, and the reference to Roull sparked the Edinburgh poet laureate's imagination. After consulting the Bannatyne manuscript in the NLS collections, Conn developed a sequence of poems that gives Roull a persona, using the court of James IV as an exciting backdrop.

Humour and music

At an event in the Library on Thursday 5 May, Conn will read these poems and reveal his various sources. Just as the sequence carries a thread of humour, together with more intimate moments, the evening promises to be a lively one. Exuberant multi-instrumentalist John Sampson, clad in period costume, will provide musical punctuation with a 15th and 16th century flavour.

John Sampson
John Sampson
in The Thrie

Given that Corstorphine (to use the modern spelling) is on Edinburgh's western outskirts, Stewart Conn sees this event as a suitable acknowledgement of his three-year tenure as the city's makar, which finishes at the end of May. 'Both John and I are thrilled that it is taking place at the Library,' he says.

Entry is free, but places are limited, so do book in advance: see our Events page page for details.

28 April 2005

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