Scottish Poetry Library Podcast Number 3!

March 30, 2009


Ishbel McFarlane reads Burns' "To A Mouse"!

Listen here:

The third of our hip, techno-savvy podcasts is up and streaming at the SPL website, and features recent visitors and events hosted by the library, including the aptly-dubbed Noisy Day. There’s clips of acoustic punk Billy Liar, freelance folk adventurer Chandra, Pavel, who recorded Burns in Czech for us, also Robert Crawford and Douglas Dunn discussing the release of a new anthology Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, even more Claire Askew, editor of Read This Magazine, discusses Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” and we have Ishbel McFarlane reciting Burns’ ode, “To A Mouse“. All for your enjoyment: Listen here.

“Farmers honour the ploughman poet” — A Plug

January 23, 2009


Read To a Mouse on the SPL Website

Click to read Burn's To a Mouse on the SPL Website


On Saturday the 24th, I’ll be with the Scottish Poetry Library for a little while at the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market. Always a great place to hang out on a sharp, winter morning.

Here’s the little blurb the Edinburgh Evening News gave us:

“PIPERS and poets will be attending the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market tomorrow to help celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. The market will be filled with the sound of the bagpipes, courtesy of two pipers from George Watson’s School. The Scottish Poetry Library will have a stall with free postcards featuring enduring Burns poems such as A Man’s a Man and a range of books on display for visitors to browse. Edinburgh’s reader in residence, Ryan Van Winkle, will also be on hand, helping visitors to find poems they may enjoy. Slow Food Edinburgh will play its part in the festivities, with a Slow Food Taste Tour focusing on haggis, neeps and tatties. Richard Darke, events manager for market organisers Essential Edinburgh, said: “We are looking forward to an atmospheric Farmers’ Market on Saturday with music, poetry and some fantastic home-grown produce.”

And since we’re celebrating ol’ Mr. Haggis-Lover  — I suggest you go and read my favorite Burns’ poem:  “To a Mouse On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough.” Our friend Ishbel McFarlane wrote about the poem for the Scottish Poetry Library saying: “This poem is wildly self-obsessed and much darker than its popularity in the classroom would suggest. Its proposed subject-matter might be cutesie, but its message ends up being almost as bitter and hopeless as any Burns ever expresses.” Go and read the poem and the rest of Ishbel’s commentary here.