November 21, 2011

My Twitter Handle (and Blog Title) Explained: What Is a Bard?

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Courtesy of bosoxinjection.com
The Bard of Boston is not a reference to Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard; it is not a reference to Shakespeare performances going on in and around the Boston area; and it is not a reference to the culinary practice of covering meat with bacon prior to roasting (a second meaning of bard)... although that does sound delicious.

Apart from being a big fan of flaunting the phonetic fun of alliteration, I chose bard to precede Boston in my blog title and Twitter handle (@BardOfBoston) because the term uniquely encapsulates several of the qualities that pertain to my interests, hobbies, career and ancestral past.
  • Celtic: The term bard has its roots in the Celtic linguistic/cultural tradition, a tradition that today applies to persons of Irish, Highland Scottish, Manx, Welsh and Cornish descent. As an Irish American, the Celtic term bard seemed fitting, especially in light of its definition(s).
  • Writer: According to Dictionary.com, a bard is "one of an ancient Celtic order of composers and reciters of poetry." Although I don't compose poetry to pay the bills, I do compose copy and web content. Furthermore, songwriting is a hobby of mine, which ties in with the next bullet point.
  • Musician: Another definition of bard from Dictionary.com is as follows: "(formerly) a person who composed and recited epic or heroic poems, often while playing the harp, lyre, or the like." In my spare time, I play Celtic music; and back in my Montreal days, I even had a Celtic/folk band (Devaney's Goat). But what ties into this definition of bard even more specifically is that I play the Irish bouzouki, which is not too different from a lyre.
  • Historian: Merriam-Webster defines bard as "a tribal poet-singer skilled in composing and reciting verses on heroes and their deeds." In addition, Dictionary.com clarifies in a later definition that bards "recited verses about the exploits, often legendary, of their tribes." As an amateur historian who is striving to keep stories from New England's past alive, I feel that I am performing the equivalent of reciting verses about the legendary exploits of my tribe.

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