Edwin Morgan: Scottish stars and former colleagues pay tribute to nation's first Makar on centenary of his birth

Friends, former colleagues and admirers of the late Edwin Morgan have paid tribute to Sotland’s first Makar on what would have been his 100th birthday.

The late Edwin Morgan, pictured in his Glasgow hone. Picture: Robert Perry
The late Edwin Morgan, pictured in his Glasgow hone. Picture: Robert Perry

Celebrity fans of the celebrated poet, including Alan Cumming, Elaine C Smith, and Eddie Reader, as well as leading literary lights such as Jackie Kay, Carol Ann Duffy, and Damian Barr, are among those to take part in the video, sharing their favourite lines and memories of Morgan.

The Edwin Morgan Trust, a charity which seeks to encourage and advance poetry in Scotland, showcased the video as part of the #EdwinMorgan100 celebrations.

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Entitled ‘Open the Doors!’, a reference to the opening line of the poem written by Morgan for the opening of the Scottish Parliament, it forms part of an ongoing series of events marking his contribution to Scottish culture.

Barr, the author, playwright, and presenter, said the fact Morgan was writing about the country in which he was growing up had left a lasting influence on civic Scotland.

“I had no idea when I was taught Edwin Morgan at school that he was gay and that he was a poet who was alive,” he explained

“I thought all poets had to be dead. But Edwin Morgan was very much still alive and very much still writing about the country that he helped shape with his words. And what an incredible thing for a poet to shape a nation.

“A poet, Edwin Morgan shaped our nation with his words just as surely as politicians shaped it with their laws.”

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Kay, the award-winning poet who has been Scots Makar since 2016, said Morgan was able to “give us everything” with his “dexterous and versatile” writing, from tender sonnets about Glasgow to concrete poetry.

“It’s wonderful being inside Edwin Morgan’s poetry because it is like being inside his mind, and his mind was a wonderful, wonderful place to be,” she said.

Kay added that the power of poetry could offer a “huge consolation” to people at the moment.

“It can help your worry and your anxiety. It can speak to your innermost soul. It can be playful, it can stretch your mind, and poetry is the form, really, the art form, that people turn to when they've just been recently bereaved or when they've just recently fallen in love,” she said.

“There's no coincidence that people turn to poetry when they most need it.”

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