Tuesday, 31 May 2011

What is a makar?

A makar is a term from Scottish literature for a poet or bard, often historically associated with a royal court.

File:The Bard.jpg

Most recently the term has been variously and geographically awarded to Magi Gibson, Valerie Gillies, Edwin Morgan, Stewart Conn, Liz Lochhead, Ron Butlin and Sheena Blackhall.

Its meaning is similar to the Greek term ποιητής (poiētēs): both poet and maker. And it implies a poet who knows how to create or craft tautly weighted, often formal poetry with intricate or involved diction, word play and rhythms. Sounds delightfully geeky to me.

It is usually applied to poets writing in Scots but not always. William Dunbar for instance referred to the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer, as a makar.

If you know an overlooked makar, please let us know...


  1. How interesting! A makar. That's a cryptic crossword type of word I'll need to remember! :)
    Judy, South Africa

  2. More on the Scots Makar here: