Scottish national poet Morgan dies

19th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Edwin Morgan, the Scottish national poet, died Thursday at the age of 90, the Scottish Poetry Library said. He was suffering from pneumonia.

Morgan was named as the first Scottish national poet, or Scots Makar, in 2004. He was known for the variety and range of his writing.

Born in Glasgow in 1920, he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and taught English for more than 30 years at the University of Glasgow, The Guardian newspaper reported.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond called Morgan "a truly a great man, an exceptional poet, and an inspiration".

"Much-loved in Scotland and indeed around the world, his work tackled all manner of global issues and major historical events closer to home," he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"His passion for observing all aspects of Scottish life shone a spotlight on Scotland for the rest of the world."

Britain's Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy said of her fellow Scot: "A great, generous, gentle genius has gone. He was poetry's true son and blessed by her. He is quite simply irreplaceable."

In 1982 Morgan was made a officer of the Order of the British Empire. In 2000 he won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, said: "His courage as a man and his constancy as a poet only seemed to increase with age.

"The whole poetry community took a kind of pride in his ongoing fecundity, and it was good that he lived to know the honour and regard he was held in by his city and his country.

"A solitary spirit who breathed solidarity, an experimentalist who did not disdain 'accessibility', his subject was the big one Patrick Kavanagh identified as 'the parish and the universe'.

"What I liked greatly about him was the way he combined a low key personal presence with a high level of poetic endeavour."

© 2010 AFP

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