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Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Great Scottish Poet Has Died

Terribly sad news - Edwin Morgan - Britain's greatest living poet - has died aged 90.  A titan, though modest and infinitely gentle and humourous, his broadly exploratory genius for styles and tones was unique and refreshing in a tradition often emphasising a singularity of voice and a monolothic vision, and clearly paved the way for Muldoon, Herbert, Paterson and others, who developed his sense of play and verve.

Heterogenous in talent, wildly inventive, funny and smart, he was the current genius of the British language, and it is a sad footnote which records that he failed to be awarded a TS Eliot prize while living - though less deserving, younger poets did, for lesser collections.  He was admirable for exploring, however obliquely, his homosexuality - in a culture which does not tend to openly celebrate gay poetry - in short, he was the cross-ocean Ashbery of this clime, and more.

I once wrote him a poem and it was published in Scotland.  He read it, and apparently quite enjoyed it - a true honour for a young poet as I then was.
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