From Saturn to Glasgow: a celebration of Edwin Morgan
- Allan Radcliffe
- 28 February 2008
Mitchell Library, Glasgow, Sun 9 Mar
While the guid folk of Edinburgh are enjoying Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, this year’s Glasgow City Read focuses on a new poetry collection, From Saturn to Glasgow: Fifty Favourite Poems by Edwin Morgan. The publication is a timely opportunity to celebrate the passionate work of Glasgow’s first poet laureate, and the first Scots Makar, and some of the literary world’s best-kent names are queuing up to appear at this special evening of poetry, discussion and music, from fellow poets Liz Lochhead and Donny O’Rourke to novelists Iain Banks, Ali Smith and James Robertson.
‘Edwin Morgan is a border crosser, a transgressor, a writer who breaches barriers – linguistic, historical, geographical – from Glasgow to Saturn,’ says Willy Maley, professor of English Literature at Glasgow University, who is also appearing at the event. ‘Collections like Glasgow Sonnets (1972) and Sonnets from Scotland (1984) weren’t publications, they were events. From Beowulf to bay windows, Morgan’s marvellous musings have put Glasgow on the map, and crammed the world into Glasgow.’
Morgan’s work has always held particular significance for LGBT readers. While enduring love poems, such as ‘The Unspoken’ were ambiguous about the gender of the object of the writer’s desire, the poet, playwright, lecturer and translator came out as gay in a 1990 biography. A respected, visible figure in the community, Morgan read a poem at the opening of Glasgow’s LGBT Centre in 1995 and presented it to the centre as a gift, and later became patron of Our Story Scotland.