The Rellik Tavern will hold a special poetry night Monday, Jan. 25, to honor the 257th birthday of Scottish Poet Laureate Robert Burns titled “Robert Burns an’ All That.”
Burns, also known as the Bard of Ayrshire, was a poet and lyricist who is frequently regarded as a pioneer of Europe’s Romantic period, which was well-regarded for its heavy emotions and nostalgia. Burns wrote several poems and also rewrote old Scottish folk songs to give them new meaning. Although he died at the age of 37, Burns is believed to have authored more than 500 poems, many of which are still popular today. Burns’ works include “To a Mouse,” “A Man’s a Man for A’ That” and “The Battle of Sherramuir.” He is perhaps best known for his poem “Auld Lang Syne,” which was based on the melody of an old folk song. The tune has earned prominence as the song sung at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day.
According to Benicia Literary Arts President Lois Requist, the idea for the poetry night came from Rellik co-owner Tom Hamilton, who is Scottish.
“Several years ago, he suggested that we have this event on Robert Burns' birthday, a worldwide tradition, in which Burns' poetry is read and food of the Scots is served,” she said. “We haven't had it every year, but when I talked to Tom in December, he thought he'd like to do it again.”
The first hour of the event will feature readings by some of Benicia’s most celebrated poets, including past Poet Laureates of Benicia Requist, Don Peery and Joel Fallon, as well as Peter Bray, Johanna Ely, John Hamling, Kristine Mietzner and Tom Stanton. Afterward, there will be a break where patrons can enjoy Scottish foods. Among the items served are haggis, which Requist describes as an acquired taste.
“Unless you've grown up with it, you might not like it,” she said. “So Tom and The Rellik have served other things, like shortbread, cheese, etc. ”
The second hour will consist of open mic for anybody who signed up for the event.
“We hope attendees will have a good time hearing live performances by local poets and writers,” BLA event team member Carolyn Plath said. “They will present Burns’ work and/or their own original work, some of it inspired by Burns.”
“Robert Burns an’ All That” will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 25 at The Rellik Tavern, located at 726 First St. The event is free of charge. For more information, contact Requist at firstname.lastname@example.org.