Poet party

Author and poet Robert Burns is considered Scotland’s most influential writer. On Jan. 31, The Rotary Club of West Kauai will honor him at their 15th annual “Burns Supper.”

“He was a poet of the people and when I grew up I always sang his songs in school,” said Dave Walker, Rotarian and event coordinator. “He dazzled people with his wit and songs.”

The celebration to honor his memory and works will be held at Wrangler’s Restaurant in Waimea. Doors open at 5 with pupus, no-host cocktails and a silent auction.

A Scottish dinner will be at 6 p.m. One of the dishes featured will be haggis, which is a traditional Scottish dish of sheep’s organs broiled with suet and onions in the sheep’s stomach. The event will conclude at 9 p.m. and also feature many savory desserts, entertainment and whiskey.

“It’s a nice event and we have some specific performances related to Burns,” Walker said. “We start of with a parade of pipers, who march along the main street of Waimea and they’re called the Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaii.”

Walker also said the Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaii will feature a free concert at 5 p.m. Jan. 30 at Waimea in front of the Captain Cook statue.

Almost always celebrated on or close to Burns’ birthday, the Burns suppers are held across the world and range from quiet gatherings to thunderous nights of raves and drink. Although all Burns suppers are celebrated differently, many feature individuals who will read some of Burns’ works.

Burns was born on Jan. 25, 1759, in the village Alloway, Scotland and grew to become a pioneer in the romantic movement through his enchanting folk music and lyrical writing.

Although Burns’ parents were humble farmers, they strived to provide their son with a strong education.

The works of Alexander Pope and Henry Mackenzie proved to be a great inspiration for the young writer in addition to his relationships with women. His poems eventually earned him the title of “The Ploughman Poet” as they appealed to the literary tastes for romantic writings. Some of the poems Burns became famous for include “To a Louse,” “To a Mouse” and “The Cotter’s Saturday Night.”

Burns strong political opinions also helped him create a number of well-known songs, poems and letters.

In 18 months, Burns spent a majority of the wealth he earned from his published poetry and took a job as an excise officer in Dumfries.

Unfortunately, the requirements of his job and lifestyle caused Burns’ health to deteriorate and the poet died on July 21, 1796. Burns was buried with civil and military honors.

“He did poetry on all kinds of natural events; he was very well read,” Walker said. “His famous phrase was ‘a man is a man for a’ that.’ When it comes down to basics, a man is a man. I think what he was trying to say was be yourself and recognize other people … he just hoped the best for the human race.”

The Rotary Club of West Kauai is a community service organization with five clubs on Kauai,” said Walker. It takes on large and small projects, from helping students to assisting seniors.

“We’re all about international understanding,” Walker said.

Tickets for the event are $80 and may be purchased by calling Walker at (808) 652-0616.

Proceeds will be given to vocational technical students who graduate from Waimea High School. Last year, the Rotary Club gave away six scholarships.

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