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It’s a Robert Burns Time of Year, Jan 20th by Julian Levine

As Americans, scratch that, as people almost all of us are acutely aware of a tiny subset of the population who we, by and large, don’t know personally and will never meet. Still, through the magic of fluff news and grocery store checkout aisles we stay in tune with these mystery people, often sharing their successes and failures and marvelling at their seemingly unique lives. Celebrities! Even hardened scrooges can find themselves dumbstruck when a titan of stage and screen parks beside them on the train and fails to do anything remotely epic over the course of the ride. Why are celebrities on my mind? Because it is almost that time again to celebrate a man of such enduring legacy that we quote his lines without knowing they’re his and sing his songs just the same. It’s a Robert Burns time of year.

Quick recap: Robert Burns was born in 1759 in South Ayrshire, Scotland to a tenant farm family. To put it lightly, his was a difficult life. Luckily his father valued education and took it upon himself to classically educate Robert and his six siblings while still attending to the rigors of farm life. Robert eventually grew to try his hand at poetry and had more than a bit of talent at the art. While living only 37 years Robert burns created a prodigious library of songs and poetry and progeny (he had 12 children by four different women). He found his muse in such simple things as a louse, a mouse, a kiss, and a haggis (take note). Some of his most famous works include “A Man’s A Man for A That,” “Auld Lang Syne,” (which is sung on new years eve) and my personal favorite: “A Red, Red Rose.”

Burns sits alone as the national poet of Scotland and in 2009 he was selected as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public through a vote from Scottish television channel STV. In all seriousness, more than 200 years after his death Robert Burns beat Sean Connery in a Scottish popularity contest.

Popularity and breadth of writings notwithstanding, why are we interested in Robert Burns here in Lewisburg? Because we are fast approaching January 20th, the date in which Robert Burns night will be celebrated at The Irish Pub in Lewisburg, WV. Burn’s nights are held throughout the world (and are expected celebrations in Scotland) with much the same format: jovial, raucous Scottish poetry read by the host of the evening with alternating gravity and gaiety, free flowing Scotch Whisky, and copious amounts of Haggis, chicken soup, turnips and mashed potatoes, and sweet sticky trifle. Those who wish to attend should stop by the pub and purchase a ticket, sooner rather than later as space is quite limited. The event is private, the pub is closed for the evening. To be clear, purchasing a ticket entitles the attendee to a grand meal with grand people as well as unlimited Scotch Whisky and Scotch Poetry, both of which should be consumed in a generally responsible manner.

I’ll leave you with a bit of Robbie Burns himself, Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun: I will luve thee still, my dear,While the sands o’ life shall run.

– Julian Levine LBSPY 23 (Dec 31-Jan 14)

Publisher/Editor in Chief at HashtagWV | + posts

HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.

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