Introduced by John Burnside
Illustrated by Kit Russell
A rousing selection of the beloved poet’s works, presented in a handsome binding that reflects Burns' abiding affection for the natural world.
This Folio edition includes many of Robert Burns’s best-loved works, from ‘To a Louse’ and ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ That’, to ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ and ‘A Red, Red Rose’, alongside lesser-known poems and songs. Printed in two colours throughout, this edition features new notes and a glossary, while the dynamic heather-coloured binding showcases the poet’s signature. The poems are accompanied by stunning lino-cuts by Dundee-based Scottish illustrator Kit Russell.
Burns holds cult status in Scotland, where he is widely celebrated as the national poet, but his influence extends far beyond Scottish borders. Every 25 January, his songs are chanted by Burns Night revellers the world over; his poems are taught to Russian schoolchildren, while ‘Auld Lang Syne’ once formed the basis of the Korean national anthem. In this new edition of Burns’s poetry, selected and introduced by the acclaimed poet John Burnside, Burns emerges in yet another guise: as ‘a forerunner of current movements in ecology and ecocritical thinking’. As Burnside argues, the poet’s ‘concept of a just world is one in which animals, plants and habitats are as central as human interests’.
Born into a farming family in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1759, Burns was raised in agricultural poverty. His fortunes changed in 1786 when Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was published to instant acclaim. A proto-Romantic poet, Burns spent much of his life in Edinburgh, where he became known for his charismatic personality, radical politics and biting wit. Whether they rework ancient folk songs, address the mouse uncovered by his ploughshare, or consider the merits of republicanism or the joys of whisky, Burns’s poems sing for their sincerity, directness and rich Scots vocabulary. As Burnside writes, ‘it is hard to think of any other poet in English, Shakespeare excepted, whose works have so thoroughly informed our day-to-day language and practical philosophies’.
John Burnside is a Professor of English at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he teaches American poetry, literature and ecology, and creative writing. He is the author of fourteen books of poetry, most recently All One Breath (2014) and Black Cat Bone, which won both the Forward Poetry Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2012. He is a recipient of the Petrarca Prize, the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the Cholmondley Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. His prose writing includes the memoir A Lie About My Father, Saltire Society Book of the Year in 2006, the novels Glister (2008) and A Summer of Drowning (2011), and the story collection Something Like Happy, which won both the Saltire Society Book of the Year and the Edge Hill Prize in 2013.
Kit Russell is an award-winning illustrator and graphic designer based in Dundee, Scotland. He graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2013, where he received a BA First Class honours in Illustration. Kit’s work is notable for his simple yet sophisticated approach, which utilizes a range of traditional printmaking techniques and digital tools.
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Review by anon on 2nd Mar 2016
"Pleasantly surprised by this, beautiful thick cream paper and the poems are well set out, and easy to read although there is the very extensive glossary provided.The book has a fun feel to it that fit..." [read more]