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August 20, 2010

Edwin Morgan 1920–2010.

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I was just writing up a few notes on the influence of Edwin Morgan on the poet Jen Hadfield, when I heard that Morgan died this week . Ben Myers writes of Morgan on The Guardian webiste:

Edwin Morgan was a singular voice in a country with a literary tradition rich in singular voices. He managed to be both an outsider and an academically respected writer who rose to be one of the best of his time; a defender of the underdog and the individual who was nationally lauded when, in 2004, he was elected the first Scots Makar, the Scottish Parliament’s equivalent of Poet Laureate. It was a position that formally recognised Morgan as the national treasure many had already long since viewed him as.

In memory, I post a poem by Morgan that has been a huge influence on Hadfield.*

A View of Things

what I love about dormice is their size
what I hate about rain is its sneer
what I love about Bratach Gorm is its unflappability
what I hate about scent is its smell
what I love about newspapers is their etaoin shrdl
what I hate about philosophy is its pursed lip
what I love about Rory is his old grouse
what I hate about Pam is her pinkie
what I love about semi-precious stones is their preciousness
what I hate about diamonds is their mink
what I love about poetry is its ion engine
what I hate about hogs is their setae
what I love about love is its porridge spoon
what I hate about hate is its eyes
what I love about hate is its salts
what I hate about love is its dog
what I love about Hank is his string vest
what I hate about the twins is their three gloves
what I love about Mabel is her teeter
what I hate about gooseberries is their look, feel, smell and taste
what I love about the world is its shape
what I hate about a gun is its lock stock and barrel
what I love about bacon-and-eggs is its predictability
what I hate about derelict buildings is their reluctance to disintegrate
what I love about a cloud is its unpredictability
what I hate about you, chum, is your china
what I love about many waters is their inability to quench love

Edwin Morgan (1920-2010)
  • References to ‘A View of Things’ crop up in quite a few of Hadfield’s poems. In Amanacs, Hadfield’s ‘Staple Island Swing’ quotes Morgan’s poem in the epigraph (‘What I hate about love is its dog’) and ‘Love’s Dog’ in Nigh-No-Place is riffing on Morgan too:

What I hate about love is its me me me
What I love about love is its Eat-me/ Drink-me


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