The Scottish poet Robert Burns has been idolised and eulogised. He has been sainted, painted, tarted-up and toasted. He is famous as the author of 'Auld Lang Syne', and he has long been the patron saint of the heartsore and the hungover. But what about the poems? Beneath the cult of Burns Nights and patriotic yawps, there is the work itself, among the purest and most truthful created in any age.This is a Burns collection like no other, introduced, arranged and contextualised by the award-winning novelist and essayist Andrew O'Hagan. Above all, it is an accessible edition made for the pleasure of reading that brings Burns' timeless work to full, riotous, colourful life.
There is probably no better modern introduction to Burns' work . . . A triumph * * Herald * * Presents Burns as a poet infinitely worth reading * * Daily Telegraph * * People who find it hard to get into Burns have the answer to their prayers in this book . . . presented in a way that Burns himself would have enjoyed - letting the poems chime and rhyme with the debates that surround us in the world today -- Ewan McGregor O'Hagan strips away the sentimentality which continues to cling to Burn's coat-tails and offers him to us at his very best - political, passionate, incisive and expressive - with biographical and textual notes that greatly enrich the reader's experience * * Guardian * * The way Burns sounded, his choice of words, his rhymes and metaphors,all that collapsed the distance I expected to feel between myself andthe schoolbook poetry I encountered first at Anahorish ElementarySchool . . . He did not fail the Muse or us or himself as one of poetry'schosen instruments -- Seamus Heaney Picking out his favourite Burns poems, [O'Hagan] explains why each of them still matters, either personally or politically, with the lucidity one has come to expect from one of the leading Scottish essayists and novelists of his generation * * Scotsman * *
Andrew O'Hagan was born in Scotland in 1968. He is author of The Missing and Our Fathers which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Holtby Prize for Fiction. With his second novel, Personality, he won the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. Be Near Me, was longlisted for the Booker Prize, as was his most recent novel The Illuminations. He lives in London.