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Last Sunday marked the 250th birthday of renowned Scottish poet Robert Burns. Think you would never know some musty old poet? Oh, but you do! He wrote such classics as "Auld Lang Syne" and "A Red, Red Rose."

David Stenhouse, a radio producer for the BBC produced a Burns documentary in 2004.  He explains why Scotland is counting on Burns to bring in millions of dollars to the Scottish economy in 2009.

"The thing about Burns is that he is celebrated every year in a little formula called the Burns Supper.  At each stage of the Burns Supper money is spent.  You need to hire a kilt, because not all Scotsmen have kilts.  You need to buy bottles of whisky, which is pretty pricey.  You need to buy your haggis, if you can buy haggis, if you are in a coutrny that allows haggis.

Due his death at age 37, he has become the Scottish James Dean of Poetry.  "He is the man every Scottish man wants to be, and every Scottish woman wants to be with.  Not only was he an intellectual, he was a working man."

"He wrote during his life an extraordinary range of poetry:  there were the comic poems, there were the political poems, there were the love poems, and so, Scots have got a ready vocabulary available to them at all times."

"This year, Burns is even bigger.  2009 is the year of homecoming in Scotland, and Robert Burns is being used to head that up because aside from Sean Connery, he is probably the most famous Scotsman."

"The Takeaway" is PRI's new national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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