Scottish poet Edwin Morgan dies at age 90

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Scottish poet Edwin Morgan has died at the age of 90. The cause of death was announced as pneumonia. Morgan's writing career spanned for more than 60 years. He was Scotland's first national poet, known as the "Scots Makar". His death was confirmed by his publisher.

Born in Glasgow in 1920, Morgan grew up in Rutherglen. He later returned to his birth town where he studied at Glasgow University in 1937.

Morgan published his first book, The Vision of Cathkin Braes, in 1952. He later began to write experimental poetry. In the early 1960s, Morgan published The Second Life, a book that would boost his career. From Glasgow to Saturn, a collection about space exploration, was published shortly after The Second Life. Both of these books would later be taught in Scottish schools. Later in his career, Morgan received several awards for his work. In 1999, he became Glasgow's first Poet Laureate, and he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry a year later. In 2001, he was awarded the Weidenfeld Prize for Translation.

By the time Morgan was named the "Scots Makar" in 2004, he had been diagnosed with cancer and was living in a nursing home. Despite the illness Morgan continued to write, even writing about the disease.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to Morgan saying that he was "a truly a great man, an exceptional poet, and an inspiration". He added that "Much-loved in Scotland and indeed around the world, his work tackled all manner of global issues and major historical events closer to home. His passion for observing all aspects of Scottish life shone a spotlight on Scotland for the rest of the world".