One World: Scots-Chinese Poetry

Ellen MacDougall, Visitor Services Facilitator at MUSA shares some aspects of our One World Exhibition as we celebrate Rabbie Burns and all things Scots (and Chinese!)

With Burns Night upon us, it’s a time when many Scots revisit the poetry of Scotland’s national bard in celebration of the anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth.  This year marks the 258th anniversary and the next few days will see celebratory Burns Suppers taking place across the world with oral recitation of Burns’ Scots poetry playing a huge part.

MUSA’s One World exhibition includes a fabulous display of Chinese Makars poems which fuse classic Chinese poems with Scots language in a cross-cultural translation project.  These poems were produced in 2015 when the University’s School of English brought together Chinese students and students that were well versed in the Scots tongue in a project that sought to combine Chinese poems with the Scots language.  As part of this collaboration, students shared aspects of their language and culture and explored how to bring words and images that were very specific to Chinese culture into a Scottish poetry context.  Prizes were awarded for the best collaborations between students, with Michael Grieve and Xi Zhao winning the competition with ‘Hairst-time’, a translation of Ma Zhiyuan’s poem ‘Autumn Thoughts’ which dates from the 14th Century.

Five poems from the Makars Project are featured in our One World exhibition (Hairst-time, On the Ben, Bamboo Grove, Ware-time, A Man Gane Wanderin) with both the Scots translation and original Chinese on display.  Videos of Chinese and Scots readings of the poems form part of the video accompaniment to the exhibition.

To get in the mood for reciting your poem at your Burns Supper, why not have a listen to some of them below?

To find out more about the project follow the link below to the University of St Andrews Website:

 You have just over two more weeks to come and view the project and the pieces written for it in our One World Exhibition now showing at MUSA until 19th February.



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