Row breaks out after Stirling names first ever Makar

The Makar of Stirling dates back to the reign of James IV
The Makar of Stirling dates back to the reign of James IV
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A war of words has broken out over the appointment of a city’s official poet after critics claim they have never heard of him.

School teacher Clive Wright has been named Makar of Stirling, a ceremonial position that dates from the 15th century and the reign of James IV.

The position was revived in 2009 with the appointment of Magi Gibson, followed by the Stirling-born poet Anita Govern.

A spokesman for Stirling Council said Mr Wright, a languages graduate of Cambridge University, had experience and expertise that made him an “outstanding candidate” for the three-year post, which comes with an honorarium of £1,000 per year.

Mr Wright, who teaches at the Beaconhurst School in Bridge of Allan, was chosen by a panel from a shortlist of nine candidates.

But the appointment has “mystified” Callander-based Sally Evans, who runs the publication Poetry Scotland, and Ms Gibson, who was Makar from 2009 to 2012.

Ms Evans said: “Poets in the Stirling area (there are quite a few) are mystified that someone selected to represent them should be almost entirely unknown to them.

“Especially when, to my knowledge, at least two other poets with multiple publishing credits, and full books already published, applied for the post.”

Ms Gibson said: “I’m very connected with the Scottish poetry scene, and Clive Wright is not someone I’d heard of.

“Quite a few people from the Stirling area contacted me to ask for information. Sadly, I couldn’t shed any light.”

Mr Wright said he was disappointed by some of the “negative reaction” that greeted his appointment.

He said: “I want to make it clear that I have nothing but admiration for my fellow poets. I am a prize winning poet whose work has been anthologised and published in Scotland and also England and Ireland.”

He added: “I look forward to writing in this role and I trust giving pleasure through my work to all our people here, including, may I say, my critics.”

Holders of the post must be resident within Stirling or have a strong connection with the area. They are expected to write one poem per year that celebrates the Stirling area.

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