Robbie MacLeòid

Robbie MacLeòid is a poet and songwriter living in Edinburgh, with strong ties to the Isle of Barra. He writes and performs in both Gaelic and English. In Gaelic, his work tends to take the form of short lyric poetry, and songs; in English, he tends to write spoken word pieces. His work has appeared in publications such as 404 Ink and STEALL, and he has been a featured performer at events such as Inky Fingers and Loud Poets. He was recently commissioned for the Year of Young People as a songwriter by Fèisean nan Gàidheal; his song 'Beò an Dòchas' was the centrepiece of their 2018 Blas concert, where it was sung by over 700 school children. Robbie is currently finishing a PhD, specialising in medieval Gaelic literature, at the University of Glasgow, where he also teaches 20th century Gaelic poetry.

Photo of Robbie MacLeòid, on stage and standing by a microphone, smiling to an audience beyond the camera

Photo: I Am Loud


Festival Launch Extravaganza »

Enjoy a sneak peek of some of the highlights of StAnza 2020

Wed 4 March | 18:30 - 20:45 | free / ticketed | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Auditorium

Poems Aloud »

St Andrews University Library Poetry Recitation Competition

Fri 6 March | 15:30 - 16:30 | free / ticketed | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Studio Theatre



There is a snap, and an ache. The snap
comes first — the rubber bands are stretched and set and let
tighten into place on the hooks by your gums,
like ties keeping doomed lobsters from snapping
claws. Your mouth, over time, will be reshaped,
that you might better fit your place.

The ache comes later. It’s night and you reach
for some drug, anaesthetic, to drown, cut out
the bruise growing in your mouth, some distraction.
You remember them asking if anyone at school
took the piss out of you for your funny, squint mouth.

There is a snap, a flash — a headline, an historic
moment, a monument, a conflict, the restraints are put on.

Your mighty standing stones are sanded down
into more pleasing shapes the tourists
can take pictures of. They ache.


Robbie MacLeòid