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Rab Wilson’s Workshop

Rab Wilson Photo Robin Gillanders

Ma heid’s still fair birlin wi’ a’ the guid advice we got on Weddinsday nicht fae oor ain Ayrshire poet, Rab Wilson.

Rab began by reading his Ode to Lord Winston who had described haggis as ‘revolting’ during a Lords debate on the US ban on our celebrated puddin. This piece of modern satire, written in Scots in the style of Rabbie’s Address to a Haggis, showed how a skilled practitioner can use a traditional style to make a very contemporary point.

After discussing some favourite poems suggested by members, Rab laid out press cuttings on everyday topics and invited everyone to pick one and write a poem based on the content – a challenging task.

Whether writing in Scots or English, Rab advises considering all forms, free verse to sonnets and everything in between. Study prize-winning poems and read your own poetry aloud. For him, the ideal length is between 14 and 30 lines and the content should involve all the senses and a variety of emotions, ascribed to people and things. In all, a thought-provoking evening: now all we have to do is put his words into practice and craft a competition entry on the appropriate theme, ‘inspired by…’

Catherine Lang

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