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Edwin Morgan

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  • Edwin Morgan

    For anyone interested, today's Herald newspaper and its website carries an interview with the poet Edwin Morgan.

  • #2
    Edwin Morgan

    Thanks Celyn. I enjoyed it! Are you familiar with his work? Do you recommend it? I remember reading that he has written some sci-fi poems? But I have not [yet] read any of his stuff...



    • #3
      The state of man does change and vary, Now sound, now sick, now blyth, now sary

      There was also a quite good interview with auld Eddy in Scotland on Sunday at the weekend:

      And some people (don't know who they are) have set up a web site for Morgan. They seem to have his ok to do it because I emailed them a question about him, and they went and asked for an answer and emailed me back! Its not quite complete yet, but is as good a source of Edwinianism as I have been able to find.


      • #4
        Ah, Monco is that the one that seems to be based in Germany? If so, I encountered it once, and thought it was really good.

        Unfortunately, at the time, I was going nuts wanting to find the text of the "Muckle Flugga" poem and it could not help.

        I must go back and look again though - it was a nice site, if it is the one I am thinking of, and if it is another one, so much the better!


        • #5
          Our plesance here is all vain glory/This fals world is but transitory

          I don't know if it is based in Germany or not, the woman whose name appears on the site, and who answers the emails is Claudia E. Kraszkiewicz. There is a couple of links to German sites, so I think it probably is the one you visited.

          I had another look at the site and it does say 'official' on it, so clearly E.M. has given them his blessing to set it up and administer it.

          It is pretty difficult to find Edwin stuff on the net, and there is not much published material either. Its unfortunate because he has done a great service to Glasgow culturally. There is also an interview with him at:


          • #6
            Thanks, Monco I'll have a look!


            • #7
              Edwin Morgan

              Thanks Monco. I enjoyed that one as well. I have a feeling I like this author. I bookmarked the website so I can take a better look at his work. They have some of his poems posted there as well.
              The reason for all the interviews is that he is receiving recognition for his contribution to Scottish culture [today, Friday] when a tribute evening is being held at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

              Here is one I found interesting…

              A Home in Space
              Edwin Morgan

              Laid-back in orbit, they found their minds.
              They found their minds were very clean and clear.
              Clear crystals in swarms outside were their fireflies and larks.
              Larks they were in lift-off, swallows in soaring.
              Soaring metal is flight and nest together.
              Together they must hatch.
              Hatches let the welders out.
              Out went the whitesuit riggers with frames as light as air.
              Air was millions under lock and key.
              Key-ins had computers wild on Saturday nights.
              Nights, days, months, years they lived in space.
              Space shone black in their eyes.
              Eyes, hands, food-tubes, screens, lenses, keys were one.
              One night - or day - or month - or year - they all -
              all gathered at the panel and agreed -
              agreed to cut communication with -
              with the earth base - and it must be said they were -
              were cool and clear as they dismantled the station and -
              and gave their capsule such power that -
              that they launched themselves outwards -
              outwards in an impeccable trajectory, that band -
              that band of tranquil defiers, not to plant any -
              any home with roots but to keep a -
              a voyaging generation voyaging, and as far -
              as far as there would ever be a home in space -
              space that needs time and time that needs life.




              • #8
                There are a few of Edwins poems on the net:




                There is also a very good essay on Morgans love poetry at:



                • #9
                  Edwin Morgan

                  Thanks Monco.

                  About the essay: It focuses on the author's sexuality, what brings to my mind the question of 'how relevant it is to his work.' If I have to read a love poem [I, not being homosexual] as being a homosexual poem, because if I would read it from a heterosexual point I would not be reading it correctly, I feel that I would not be reading the poet but his sexual preferences. If I read a love poem, I am reading a love poem. If I have to have any more details than that the poem is a love poem and if I need to understand the sexuality of the poet, I might just pass on it altogether. Also it says that his work has been limited by censorship. Maybe, but I believe in the artists' ability to create beyond that.

                  "The distance is a courtesy paid to the poet's audience, to their need not to know or not to be forced to acknowledge that they know. Morgan's rule would appear to be that nothing in the poem should enforce a homosexual reading on those who do not bring such an expectation to the poem. This tactic may have made it possible for his work the honoured place it currently occupies in Scottish schools."

                  This 'tactic' in my opinion might just show how the author understands the reader.

                  The essay gives me the impression that the authors' sexuality is fundamental to the understanding of his work… I cannot agree with that… I've read many of Lorca's poems [also mentioned at the end of the essay, and know what his sexual preferences were] and I never felt that I was reading his sexuality, but always his poetry.

                  Is Morgan an author that is only considered in Glasgow's gay circle? I doubt it…

                  I think that the fact that his poems are used in schools shows that his abilities as a poet are beyond his sexuality. However the essay calls it the author's 'tactic.'


                  [Edited by Silverlining on 1st July 2002 at 00:00]


                  • #10

                    I really just posted the Edwin being gay article because it was the only other thing I could remember having read about him on the net.

                    I think a knowledge of Morgans homosexuality definitely aids understanding of his love poetry, its why the other persons gender is never made explicit, its why there is often a feeling of uneasiness in the poems. But I think they could be read just as well, and appreciated just as well without a knowledge of his sexuality. I might also add that I have heard Morgan reading his poems, and that has also given me a better understanding of the, the way he will say certain lines, and particular emphasis on certain passages (particularly when he reads 'Strawberries').

                    I don't know what attitudes to gays were or are like in your bit of America, but here in Glasgow and in Morgans case he could have been completely ruined by it. He had a long career as a lecturer, and later professor at Glasgow University, and he could have lost it all it had become known. Despite what anyone will tell you about Glasgow and how liberal it is, believe me its no San Francisco!

                    Morgan is very highly regarded in all poetry loving circles, I am not aware of any gay circles, though maybe they do exist. The poem 'In the Snack Bar' is often used in schools, and its not remotely gay, though I have been told another of his poems 'Glasgow Green' has been used in schools for years without anybody realising it was about homosexual cruising. Since that is what obviously is about, I have wondered what hell people did think it was supposed to be about!


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the reply Monco.

                      I'll read just about anything one recommends if it is within my interests. But I will let them know my thoughts on it.

                      For me a love poem is a love poem, it is not about the poet being homosexual or heterosexual but about his/her emotions and many times emotions can lead people into uneasiness. I also think that the way one understands poetry or a specific poem is a very personal thing. [I have that whole thing about 'individualism.']
                      The 'Glasgow Green' example that you gave is a good illustration of how different people can look at the same thing and not have the same saying about it.

                      The 'bit of America' I live in is Los Angeles, more precisely West Hollywood – it is mainly an artistic and part gay community – I am not gay – so people are quite tolerant about homosexuality around where I am. My view of it is that unless I am going to have a physical bond with someone it is none of my business what one's sexual preference is. It is also a multicultural city as there are people from just about everywhere in the world here.

                      On the first interview with Morgan he says that the Glasgow that he had grown up in has totally changed that lots of people just left the city! I wonder why…

                      I have not read 'In the Snack Bar' or 'Glasgow Green' so I cannot comment on them and I think is great that you got to hear the poet read this own poems!

                      I am going to order some books in the next week or so, am thinking about getting a book called '3 Scottish Poets' – they are: Norman MacCaig, Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead. Have you heard about the other 2?



                      • #12
                        SilverLining, they are both pretty highly thought of, and Liz Lochhead, in particular, is quite witty. (She had the misfortune of being my Art teacher at school, but seems to have survived very well!) They should both be failry well represented on the net. It sounds as though you will be really looking forward to receiving you new book(s).


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Silverlining
                          On the first interview with Morgan he says that the Glasgow that he had grown up in has totally changed that lots of people just left the city! I wonder why…
                          Glasgow is not all bad, in fact (and I am speaking as a Glaswegian) its a very beautiful city, and can be a very pleasant place to live. It was once a great industrial city, but the industries have declined. Industrial workers and tolerance of homosexuality rarely go hand in hand. Morgan came out as gay aged 70 in the year 1990, but he said there had been no bad reactions to it, and was pleased he had finally done so. People say Glasgow is a multicultural city, but it is not. There is a black poet from Glasgow called Jackie Kay (also a lesbian), there is an interview with her in the Guardian which is quite revealing about Glasgows supposed multiculturalism:


                          As for the other poets you mention (McCaig and Lochhead), I don't know much about them, McCaig is of the same generation as Morgan, I quite liked this one:


                          [Edited by Monco on 2nd July 2002 at 18:13]


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the reply Celyn.

                            Small world… Seems like I am about to read your former Art teacher… lol… I'll make sure to share the poems with everyone when I get the book.



                            • #15
                              Thanks Monco.

                              I am glad you like where you are from [live?]. I always tought that if possible I would skip the main cities [but not Inverness] when I finnaly decide to go visit Scotland. I just might have to check out Glasgow after all the talk.

                              That interview was nice. Jackie Kay sounds pretty good, a woman in touch with her feelings. But living away in England... Do you know her work? The ones cited sound good...

                              "You would never dream of asking a heterosexual writer how being heterosexual affected their writing, yet it's often asked of a lesbian writer." And yet it's often asked of any homosexual person for that matter. So true!

                              Some of the words from the poem you picked are quite touching… " I will not feel, I will not feel, until I have to."
                              Funny that over where I order books from the poet is listed as Norman MacCaig [not McCaig] could there be two of them, or is it a typo?