January 2010

Burns' Night

Scottish poet Robert Burns

(1759 to 1796) is probably best known, outside of Scotland, for writing "Auld Lang Syne." In Scotland he's known as a fiercely Scottish and incredibly prolific poet and balladeer. Every January 25, or near to it, people all over the world gather together for a Burns Supper, or Burns Night, in honor of the poet, and all things Scottish. The traditional meal is haggis, neeps and tatties, or a boiled mince and oat stuffing (haggis is cognate with hash) with mashed potatoes and turnips, and, in most cases, plenty of Scots whisky (better known to the Gaels as uisge beatha), and recitations and performances of Burns' works.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week

Is this not the goofiest, most insane way to have fun with poetry you’ve ever heard of? If someone mentioned “cowbody poetry” to me, I would think of being an Okie from Muskogee, refusing to use a rocking chair, and rhyming the two with Mama, Elvis, and a favorite family dog. But really, think of the possibilities this week…

Learn about, write, and submit some cowboy poetry.

Wear a cowboy hat while you write. If you have it, wear a whole cowboy costume. (Then go shopping.)

Use this word bank for a poem: coyote, spurs, buckle, ranch, Texan, chaps, yodel, ten gallon hat, boots, lasso, cattle, beans, campfire, cactus, roundup.