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My Own Memorable Holiday Poetry


It must have been the summer of 1995, the summer following my first year at university. The book was Edwin Morgan’s Themes on a Variation, borrowed from the Scottish Poetry Library, which was still crammed into Tweeddale Court at the time. The beach was Cocklawburn near Berwick-upon-Tweed — a favourite of my family’s for heaven knows how long. I remember lying there in the sun, enthralled by the multiple voices Morgan conjoured in his marvellous “From the Video Box” sequence; puzzled by some of the concrete pieces and Newspoems but thrilled by the possibilities; stunned by the reach and power of “Sonnets from Scotland”. It must be one of the significant points on my journey to being the writer I am today. But more than that, it was such enormous fun to read!

Born in Glasgow in April 1920, Edwin Morgan was one of the most significant poets of the latter half of the 20th century. His work is marked out by an incredible range and diversity of form and subject, an endless inventiveness and curiosity. In 2004, he was appointed Scotland’s first official makar (poet laureate). Despite increasing frailty and illness, he continued to publish right up until his 90th birthday. He died on 19 August 2010 at the age of 90 in Glasgow.

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