28 July 2017 Susannah

Hugh MacDiarmid – Scottish poet, born on 11 August 1892

Hugh MacDiarmid quote by Susannah Fullerton

HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Hugh MacDiarmid, born 11 August 1892

“Auden, MacNeice, Day Lewis, I have read them all,
Hoping against hope to hear the authentic call . . .
And know the explanation I must pass is this
You cannot light a match on a crumbling wall.”

Bust of Hugh MacDiarmid

Bust of Hugh MacDiarmid

His real name was Christopher Murray Grieve, and he was a poet of the Scottish borders. Most of his works are in Scottish dialect which does make his poems challenging to read, but he was an important writer of the Scottish renaissance and a major 20thC poet. He was a communist and very politically active throughout his life.

Today Hugh MacDiarmid is commemorated by a memorial sculpture in the Borders, and a plaque at the Writers’ Centre in Edinburgh. You can also buy CDs of him reading his own poems and those of Robert Burns.

Hear a great reading of MacDiarmid’s poem by David Sibbald, accompanied by lovely photos of Scottish scenery:

A challenging poet, but one that is well worth getting to know. Hugh MacDiarmid died on 9 September 1978, aged 86.

Tell me what you think of this poem in the comment area below.

 
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Body image credit- Bust of Hugh MacDiarmid by MacRusgail, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4185203

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