Terrific to see that after the debates of the last few years regarding having a separate Poet Laureate for Scotland instead of the generic British Poet Laureate that the Scottish Parliament has pretty much done that, appointing one of my favourite poets (and certainly one of the greatest living Scots bards) Professor Edinw Morgan as our national poet.
Morgan has long been an advocate of such a post, pointing out that the supposedly British Poet Laureate has always been held by an Englishman – no woman, no Scot, no Welsh or Irish bard. Not exacly representative of the Untied Kingdom, is it? With typical modesty he has been on record as saying that he would love ot do it, but he is too old. The Scottish Parliament disagreed and has made him the first holder of the post, dubbing him the Scots Makar.
For those who don’t speak BroadScots, this is a term deriving from the 15th and 16th centuries, often used to describe writers such as Dunbar and basically means a maker of words. I’ve always thought that it is a far more descriptive and, fittingly in this case, poetic way to describe the work of a creative writer; a makar. Interestingly enough, Jorge Luis Borges, one of the greastest writer of the 20th century, wrote in an introduction to his collection Dream Tigers that he considered himself not as a writer of novels, short fiction or poetry or essays but as a ‘maker of words’. In other words as a makar. A fine title for a fine sculptor of metaphor and imagery; the best writers translate the dreams of our symbolic imagination into our black and white symbols – words – by which we gain understanding and meaning of those imaginarly realms. Makars indeed.