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Renfrewshire's New Poet Laureate Announced

RENFREWSHIRE’S new poet laureate, Shaun Moore was only nine years old when his primary school teacher first recognised he had a talent for writing verse.

But when the teacher, Miss Currie announced to the class she predicted the young Shaun would become a poet, he wasn’t at all happy – as like every other youngster, he wanted to be a footballer, racing driver or an airline pilot.

Thankfully, Shaun, now 55 years old, never lost his love of words and just like his teacher said he would, Shaun went on to become a talented poet and spoken word performer.

Now Shaun, who lives in Johnstone, has just been appointed the Tannahill Makar for Renfrewshire and will write poems to mark important events in the area.

Working with OneRen – the local charitable trust providing cultural, leisure and sporting opportunities to help people enjoy active and healthy lives – Shaun will also visit schools, libraries and local groups to perform his poems and give talks aimed at encouraging an interest in the written word and language.

He takes over from the previous Tannahill Makar, Brian Whittingham, who sadly passed away at the start of this year.

Shaun, was born in Paisley, spent this early years in Pollok, Glasgow before moving to Kilbarchan and has stayed in Renfrewshire ever since.

He says: “I suppose it’s a bit ironic that after I’d written a poem when I was in St Marnock’s Primary School, in Pollok, my teacher announced to everybody that I would become a poet and that didn’t go down well with me at all!

“The classroom even had a frieze on the wall showing what everyone was going to be when they grew up and the teacher had me down to be a poet and at the time, that’s not what I wanted to be doing when I became an adult.

“But despite that, I never lost my love of words, reading books and writing poems. And another big influence on me to continue writing poetry was when Scots poet and playwright Liz Lochhead came to visit St Cuthbert’s High School, in Johnstone when I was a pupil there.”

Playing gigs as a drummer in various bands in the west of Scotland, Shaun began performing his poems between sets, which went down well with audiences and he discovered there were other venues where he could perform his spoken word.

People also ask Shaun to write and perform his poems for social events like weddings and funerals, as well as at seminars and corporate events.

Shaun has now performed at major music festivals throughout the UK, like Belladrum and the Wickerman Festival.

Shaun explains what he would like to achieve as the Tannahill Makar: “I hope to show how everybody can appreciate words and language – whether it’s in the form of poetry, in books, or in the lyrics of songs.

“It’s important that people of all ages are can appreciate the power of words and can find that way of expressing feelings.

“And when I’m performing poetry, I like to make it fun and relatable. Apart from a better way of connecting, I'm aware that some people are out to be entertained as well as hear a message.”

Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron, who appointed Shaun to the role of Tannahill Makar for Renfrewshire said:

“Shaun will record and reflect what is going on in Renfrewshire in his poetry and written word performances and I’m sure his cheery and energetic character will capture everyone’s imagination and encourage them to embrace the importance of the written and spoken word.

“We’re really looking forward to Shaun’s poems and performances and I’ve no doubt he will be very entertaining, as he takes up his role as the Tannahill Makar for Renfrewshire.”

Joyce Higgins, Digital and Library Development Manager at OneRen said: “They say that the pen is mightier than the sword and I’m sure Shaun’s words will give a strong and powerful message to everyone as, through his poetry he relates the big events in Renfrewshire.

“We’re keen for as many people as possible to hear Shaun perform his work as Makar for Renfrewshire and inspire them to a greater love of words and language.”


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