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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 12:16 GMT
SSP calls for poet laureate move
Robert Burns
Appointing a poet laureate would be "a fitting tribute," Socialists say
Scotland should appoint its own poet laureate as a tribute to Robert Burns, according to the Scottish Socialists.

Socialist MSP Colin Fox said a poet should be appointed every January to produce verses "true to Burns' egalitarian beliefs".

The MSP for the Lothian region said it would mark the bard's significant contribution to Scots culture.

Mr Fox sang Burns' 'A Man's A Man For A' That' during the swearing in ceremony in parliament in May.

Andrew Motion, the UK's poet laureate, was appointed in 1999 and succeeded Ted Hughes.

People have said they want me to do the Immortal Memory as I'm a bit of a Burns celebrity
Colin Fox
Socialist MSP
Mr Fox said Scotland should appoint its own poet laureate.

"At this time of year when the whole country thinks about Burns with Burns suppers and so on, I thought that there's not really a living monument, something the country can look towards in celebration," he said.

"There are other things ongoing, such as the plan to rename Prestwick Airport as Rabbie Burns International, but rather than looking back I thought we should come up with something newer and fresher."

Mr Fox said the poet laureate should be elected each year either by members of the poetry community or in a wider vote across Scotland.

'A wee dram'

"This would give up and coming and aspiring poets a chance to get work for one or two years, paid for by the Scottish Executive," he added.

Mr Fox revealed that he has been swamped with requests to speak at Burns Suppers this year after television pictures of his performance at the swearing in ceremony.

He said: "I've been inundated with requests. I don't know how I'm going to do them all but people have said they want me to do the Immortal Memory as I'm a bit of a Burns celebrity.

"So I'm going to try and go to as many as I can and have a wee dram, but I'll probably be sick of haggis by the end of it."

Robert Burns was born on 25 January, 1759 in the village of Alloway near Ayr.


SEE ALSO:
Burns' death skull goes on show
30 Dec 03  |  Scotland
Couple marry at Bard's home
31 Dec 03  |  Scotland


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