Chinese Makars is a poetry translation project hosted by the School of English at the University of St Andrews. It brings together Chinese-speaking students, and students familiar with the Scots tongue, to produce original Scots versions of classic Chinese poems.

Chinese Makars workshops have run in 2016 and 2018, and are organised by Professor Robert Crawford and Dr Garry MacKenzie. You can read some of the poems that came out of these workshops by clicking on the tabs above.  In this video Garry explains more about the project.

The format for Chinese Makars workshops is simple. If you’re interested in finding out more about what we did in the workshops, or would like to run a workshop of your own, Garry explains the process:

In the first series of workshops in 2016 we focused on poets from the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907). The Scots versions of poems by Du Fu, Li Bai, Wang Wei and others were included in the One World exhibition at MUSA, and published in the pamphlet Loch Diànnăo.
Download a pdf of Loch Diànnăo pamphlet.

In the 2018 workshops we translated poetry from the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960 – 1279) into Scots. The most successful Scots versions were awarded prizes by the Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone. View the 2018 poems.

Two Computer Science postgraduates, Shen Changchang and Xu Jialuo, were commissioned to produce an interactive version of the poems, under the supervision of Dr Uta Hinrichs. View their project.

Robert Crawford and the photographer Norman MacBeath have collaborated on two collections which combine poetry and photography.

Chinese Makars (2016) contains Robert’s Scots versions of classic Chinese poems, Norman’s contemporary images, and work by the pioneering Victorian photographer John Thomson.

Robert’s and Norman’s latest book, Strath (2019), pairs Scots versions of Song Dynasty poems with black and white duotone photographs. Both books are published by Easel Press.

Find out more about the books and buy copies.