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Poet returns after 500-year break

23 October 08 13:33 GMT

Stirling is to appoint its first makar for almost 500 years.

The city's council is to spend £1,500 on an official poet in the new year, the first since William Dunbar in the reign of James IV.

The poet will write verses for city events, celebrations, triumphs and tragedies, as well as "recording everyday life".

A nominations process will take place over the coming months with an appointment being made in 2009.

The post will run for three years, with the poet earning a retainer of £500 a year.

The curator of Stirling's Smith Museum and Art Gallery, Elspeth King, said it was fitting that the city had its own makar once again.

'Pay grumbles'

She added: "In the 16th Century, Stirling was where the cultural and pleasurable aspects of the royal court took place.

"The makar was an important, royal appointment and William Dunbar made the position famous through his poetry in the time of James IV and his Renaissance court.

"Dunbar's work provides such a wonderful insight as he wrote poems about everything that happened, including his thoughts that he wasn't being paid enough."

Glasgow and Edinburgh also have their own makars, while former first minister Jack McConnell appointed Edwin Morgan as Scotland's Makar, or national poet laureate, in 2004.

Ms King said: "It will put Stirling on the map for poetry once again, as William Dunbar did almost 500 years ago."

Dunbar, who was based at Stirling Castle and paid out of the monarch's pocket, was famously said to be responsible for the first printed use of the f-word, in his poem "Brash of Wowing" printed in 1508.

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