Makar Appointment/Poet’s Translation – Poetry News Roundup August 23rd

Today in our poetry news round-up we begin with a look at the appointment of a new Makar. We also look at a recently penned translation of the work of Seán Ó Riordáin.

New Makar for Scotland

A new Makar, the National poet of Scotland, has been appointed. Kathleen Jamie, the essayist and poet, was welcomed to the role by Nicola Sturgeon the First Minister last week.

Jamie will be the fourth Makar to have been appointed to the role since it was established in 2004. Her predecessors are Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, and the first Makar Edwin Morgan. The role involves helping to promote poetry on a national level as well as creating poems to help celebrate significant events that take place.

The role of Makar, which is the equivalent of the Poet Laureate, is seen as a very important one, with poetry being considered an integral part of both the history and culture of Scotland.

Jamie is well known for her work, which is written in both Scots and English and takes a careful look at the landscape of the country as well as the people. She said that she was delighted to have been appointed to the position and to follow in the footsteps of such major poets who had gone before her. She hoped that during her tenure, which will last the next three years, she will be able to achieve at least half of what they have managed. She is excited to have been given the opportunity that will allow her to share her love of poetry in an even more important way.

The selection process for choosing a new Makar has been somewhat delayed this year, with no replacement in place when Jackie Kay finished her time in the role. This delay was due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic as the usual full panel process was not able to go ahead. Instead, a panel selected a shortlist for the position and then put forward a single nomination that was endorsed by the First Minister. Due to the demands of the role and also the workload of the poets themselves, it was once again decided that tenure should be 3 years rather than the 5-year term that had been put in place when the position was conceived.

Translation of Poetry by Seán Ó Riordáin Published

A writer from Cork, who is based in the US, has published a new translation of the poetry written by the poet from Baile Mhúirne.  Seán Ó Riordáin, is considered to be one of Ireland’s most renowned poets of the Irish language. He died in 1977 having struggled with TB all of his life. Over the years his poems have been translated into many languages and his work is well known all over the world.

This most recent translation has been created by Greg Delanty with advice from Liam Ó Muirthille, a poet who sadly passed away during the work. Delanty himself admitting that his command of Irish is perhaps not all that it should be. The book is being published as a collaboration between a published based in Galway and one in the UK.

Delanty, who was born in Cork, has been lecturing since 1986 in Modern Irish Poetry in Vermont. This is not his first translation of work by the great Irish poet.



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