Edwin Morgan was a Glasgow poet, born and raised in the city he remained in his whole life. Morgan was born in 1920 to a family in the West End, living with his family in Pollokshields, and later Rutherglen. He attended Glasgow University, although during the Second World War he served with the Medical corps and was stationed in Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine. When he returned from the war, he completed his degree, and became a lecturer at Glasgow University. Morgan was extremely skilled at languages, and translated material from Russian, Hungarian, Latin, French and Anglo-Saxon into both modern English and Scots. He was most famous as a poet, and left his position at Glasgow University in 1980, when he concentrated full-time on his poems.
Morgan's relationship with Glasgow is explored throughout his poetry. Morgan seems to take pride in his city, although he is aware of its less glamorous side. He enjoyed describing his city in modern ways, whilst using the format of traditional poems. For example, his collection of 'Glasgow Sonnets' are a series of love poems aimed at the city, although often done with a sense of humour, particularly towards its people, whom Morgan shows genuine affection for.
Morgan was a firm believer in Scottish identity, and was appointed as the Scots Makar, or national poet in 2004, a post which he held until his death (after which he was replaced by Liz Lochhead). Morgan died in 2010, and is regarded as one of the most important Scottish poets of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Glasgow Sonnet No. 1
Click here to read 'Strawberries' online (courtesy of the Scottish Poetry Library).
Click here to read 'One Cigarette' online (courtesy of the PoemHunter).
Image 1: by Dr. Macro via Wikimedia Commons