From The Times

September 19, 2009

Why Edwin Morgan is still Scotland’s best-loved poet

With more than half a century of dazzling verse to his name, Morgan is the inspiration for an international competition. This year’s winner went to meet him.

Paul Batchelor

Edwin Morgan is the most mercurial of poets, equally happy writing concrete poems, sonnet sequences or developing new forms that magically fit their occasions. He finds subject matter everywhere: a consideration of William Wallace might sit alongside a tribute to Jimi Hendrix’s performance at Woodstock; and the reader can expect to be addressed by an apple or Emperor Hirohito or Edith Piaf. Or Gertrude Stein on Venus. Morgan’s work is lit with a tireless curiosity: “Deplore what is to be deplored,/ and then find out the rest”. Since his first publication in 1952, Morgan has produced a dazzling river of poetry, and the judgment of his fellow poet Liz Lochhead has become proverbial: “There is nothing he couldn’t make a poem out of.”
I am on my way to meet Morgan, having won the poetry competition named after him. I am accompanied by the poet and academic David Kinloch, who organises the competition. Kinloch was taught by Morgan at Glasgow University and the two have been friends since. He sums up Morgan’s influence: “His experimentation and his translation work expanded my sense of what a poem can be. He believes in opening doors.”
Morgan’s artistic adventurousness is remarkable, but [read on]




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