No wonder Edwin Morgan is Scotland's best-loved poet. His poems teem with lives and loves and are marked by an unusual love of the present and the future. He finds forms for themes and ideas just out of reach. In his latest collection poems both profound and witty are to be found: occasional verse that transcends its occasion, explorations of the human condition conducted with a virtuosic lightness of touch. "A Book of Lives" draws together the themes that inform his poetic world. The largest vistas of human history, from twenty billion years BC to 9/11 and the 'war on terror'; Scotland from Bannockburn to the opening of the Scottish parliament; portraits - of Rimbaud, the emperor Hirohito, Raeburn's skating Reverend Walker...Poems for birthdays and elegies celebrate friends; a dramatic dialogue about cancer sets personal experience in a wry evolutionary context. At the heart of the collection, a major sequence, "Love and a Life", affirms the inextinguishable energies of love and art.
Scotland's first National Poet and Glasgow's Poet Laureate Edwin Morgan was born in Glasgow in 1920. He celebrated his 85th birthday this year. Educated at Glasgow High School and Glasgow University, he has been a resident of Glasgow for the duration of his life, except for his six year service in the Middle East with the Royal Army Medical Corps. He became Professor of English at Glasgow University in 1975; he retired as Professor Emeritus in 1980. He has since taught at Strathclyde University (1987-1990) and at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (1991-1995). Morgan is an adept linguist, particularly in Russian, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian; he has translated Mayakovsky, Racine and Neruda into robust Scots. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2000.