Close up of a pen and ink drawing on a mouse caught under a cat's paw.

Sleekit: Contemporary poems in the Burns stanza

Delighted to have a new poem is this anthology of contemporary poems in the Standard Habbie* form, edited by Lou Selfridge. Published by Tapsalteerie.

Sleekit: Contemporary poems in the Burns stanza collects recent poetry in the form by some of the most exciting poets writing in Scotland today. Here are poems which conform to the structure of the Burns stanza alongside poems which seek to stretch and twist it; poems in Scots, English, and JavaScript; poems on topics as diverse as buffalypso, sex toys, and Robert Burns himself. The work in Sleekit shows the vital role the Burns stanza plays in contemporary Scottish poetry.’

Buy Sleekit

Sleekit is edited by Lou Selfridge and features poetry by Katie Ailes, Craig Aitchison, Janette Ayachi, Stephen Dornan, Roshni Gallagher, Harry Josephine Giles, W.N. Herbert, David Kinloch, Simon Lamb, Iain Morrison, Jeda Pearl, Calum Rodger, Stewart Sanderson, Gill Shaw, Maria Sledmere, Taylor Strickland & Kate Tough.

My poem is titled ‘Ma Scotland is’ and it’s a loving description my Scotland in Scots and English. Writing this poem involved researching the Standard Habbie* form, (re)reading Robbie Burns and some contemporary poems (like ‘Robert Burns in Scottish Stanza’ by Janette Ayachi – Scottish Poetry Library), and working with rhyme and rhythm. There are twelve stanzas and there could have been more – I couldn’t include all of what Scotland means to me, so picked out choice elements!

*Find out more about the Standard Habbie (aka the Burns stanza).

In The Guardian

The Guardian newspaper has published an article written by Sleekit editor Lou Selfridge, as she reflects on some of the poems included in the book…

‘Over the past few years, a number of Scotland-based poets have been re-evaluating Burns, writing poems responding to the troublesome aspects of this complicated figure.’

‘Jeda Pearl, a Scottish Jamaican writer living in Edinburgh, shares Kay’s concerns. In a challenge to Burns in her poem Ma Scotland Is, Pearl asks, “does [Burns’s] poetry deserve ma tongue”? Her poem goes on to confront “how we […] imagine oor Rabbie campaignin / for reparations” – a seeming dig at defenders of Burns who have suggested the poet would have become a staunch abolitionist had he witnessed enslavement in Jamaica.’

Re-evaluating Rabbie: the Scottish poets wrestling with Robert Burns’ legacy | Books | The Guardian
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