Poetry Week in Leiden was given an international twist on February 29 with a tribute to Scottish poetry by Scottish Leiden resident Adrian Young. In full regalia with kilt, Young introduced ‘Burns Night’. A celebration that commemorates the great poet Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) every January. Burns is known for the classic New Year’s Eve song ‘Auld lang syne’. The poet’s friends organized the first ‘ Burns Night’ five years after his death, at which they ate haggis, recited poems and celebrated friendship.
The well-attended Leiden ‘Burns Night’ took place at Mayflower Bookshop. It was one of the activities as part of Poetry Week which had this year friendship as its theme. Adrian Young discussed Burns’ life and recited several poems in Scots, Freek Bouricius of Mayflower Bookshop did so in English. Others performed translations of Burns’ work in German (Hans van der Veen) and Russian (Louis Smit), and there was also a reading in Latin (Tony Foster).
Leiden poet Leo van Zanen gave a lecture on the translations of Burns’ work into many languages, including Dutch, but also, for example, Japanese, Korean and Esperanto. The gathering was framed musically by the folk band Fiddle ’n Drum from Leiderdorp and Alphen aan den Rijn, which specialises in Irish and Scottish music.