1 minute read

Edwin Morgan (Edwin George Morgan) Biography

(1920– ), (Edwin George Morgan), The Vision of Cathkin Braes, The Second Life, From Glasgow to Saturn

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Edgar Mittelholzer Biography to Mr Norris Changes Trains

Scottish poetand translator, born in Glasgow; he was educated at the University of Glasgow, where he taught from 1947 until his retirement as Professor of English in 1980. The interplay between actuality and imagination that is a consistent feature of his writing was already apparent in The Vision of Cathkin Braes (1952), his first collection of poetry. Among his many subsequent volumes are The Second Life (1968), From Glasgow to Saturn (1973), Themes on a Variation (1988), and Hold Hands among the Atoms (1991). A Collected Poems appeared in 1990. Ian Hamilton has remarked that Morgan ‘is unconfinable to any single mode’: accomplished in the use of traditional forms, he has also experimented widely with concrete and sound poetries. Much of his work is pervaded by a disquietingly surreal comic sense and he is one of the few poets to have made significant use of the imaginative idioms of science fiction; the compassionate social realism he frequently employs is well represented by the ‘Glasgow Sonnets’, a densely detailed evocation of harsh conditions in the city that forms the background to much of his writing. A fundamentally optimistic humanism underlies the eclecticism of his achievement. Rites of Passage (1975) is a collection of his translations, which include versions of poetry by Montale and Neruda. A wide range of material is collected in Nothing not Giving Messages (1990) to form a ‘critical autobiography’ reflecting on his life and work.

Additional topics