Scotland

Makar Jackie Kay to perform new work at Holyrood opening ceremony

Image copyright Mary McCartney
Image caption Jackie Kay said she was "so proud" of the role the parliament and its first minister was playing

Scotland's Makar Jackie Kay is to perform a specially-commissioned poem at the opening of the fifth session of the Scottish parliament.

The Queen and MSPs will be in the chamber to hear the poem, titled Threshold, at the formal opening of the parliament on 2 July.

Ms Kay was announced as Scotland's third Makar in March.

The poet and novelist said she was "so proud" of the parliament and its first minister in "challenging times".

She revealed an excerpt of the poem in advance of its first public performance at Holyrood on Saturday.


Excerpt from Threshold, by Jackie Kay

Find here what you are looking for:

Democracy, in its infancy: guard her

Like you would a small daughter -

And keep the door wide open, not just ajar…


The poem will celebrate Scotland's "sheer variety" and calls on people across the country to come together and protect its "incipient democracy", the Scottish parliament said.

Ms Kay said: "It's a supreme privilege to have been asked to write a poem for the re-opening of Scottish parliament.

"I am so proud of our country and of our first minister and our parliament, particularly in these challenging times, and I hope that the language of poetry can contribute something to the new words we all long to hear.

"Poetry has a space in the public and the political world and it is wonderful to be part of a country that gives poetry that acknowledgement."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jackie Kay is the third poet to be fill the Scots Makar position

The poet took over the Makar post from Liz Lochhead, whose tenure as national poet came to an end in January.

Born in Edinburgh and brought up in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, Ms Kay was made an MBE in 2006. She now lives in Manchester.

The Scottish Makar position was established in 2004 by the Scottish Parliament with Edwin Morgan the first poet to receive the honour.

The role will see Ms Kay, who is chancellor of Salford University, create new work and promote poetry throughout the country and encourage young people to engage with the art form.

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