TRACING INTERTEXTUALITY: JACKIE KAY’S USE OF SCOTS IN FROM A DRUNK WOMAN LOOKS AT HER NIPPLE
Keywords:stylistics, corpus linguistics, intertextuality, literary scots, Jackie Kay, Robert Burns, Hugh MacDiarmid
This article explores the intertextual use of Scots voices in Jackie Kay’s poem, “From A Drunk Woman Looks At Her Nipple (After MacDiarmid),” which is included in the collection: New Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Crawford, ed. 2009). Kay’s poem alludes to numerous sources and different styles of literary and popular Scots: it is most immediately both a homage to Burns and a parody of MacDiarmid’s ‘A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.’ This article analyses the intertextual elements of the poem, drawing in part on the Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing 1700-1945 (CMSW), which includes a digital version of the Kilmarnock edition of Robert Burns’ Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect. This text is at the same time supplemented by an electronic version of MacDiarmid’s poem, available on the Web. Using the Kilmarnock edition and MacDiarmid’s poem as reference corpora, we can compare Jackie Kay’s Scots with that of the other two poets. Kay’s poem was re-contextualised as part of her theatrical piece, ‘The Maw Broon Monologues’, performed at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, in November 2009, a move which also aligns it with the Scots of the cartoon family, ‘The Broons’. The article considers how the different styles of Scots drawn upon contribute to the interpretation of this highly intertextual performance poem.
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