Centre for Scottish Studies

Burning interventions: a community celebration

January 25, 2024

Professor Leith Davis and her ENGL 832: Literature and Cultural Memory graduate students welcomed SFU alumnus Todd Wong to their in-class event, Burning interventions: a community celebration. The event pushed the boundaries of Robbie Burns Day, while celebrating creativity in our community.

Professor Davis began by showing the students the Robert Burns marathon reading that the Research Centre for Scottish Studies led on January 12th, 2012. This reading set the record for the longest continuous recitation of Burns: 4 hours, 12 minutes and 27 seconds.

This viewing was followed by a procession of the haggis and a discussion of Burns' poem "Address to a Haggis." Prof. Davis also prepared a vegan haggis, demonstrating that it is possible to make an alternative to the traditional meat-based recipe. She has promised to share her recipe with us.

ENGL 832 students shared poetry by various authors, including Anna Laetitia Barbauld and Claude McKay, and discussed their work in relation to Burns. Julianna Wagar sang a beautiful rendition of "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose." Wagar is also a research assistant on Prof. Davis' Lyon in Mourning research team. You can hear her sing this same song at the 2022 Highland Games. Students also viewed and discussed Vancouver news articles focused on Burns before Todd Wong (aka Toddish McWong) arrived with a non-vegan haggis and did his rap version of "Address to a Haggis." He also described how he started Gung Haggis Fat Choy in 1998.