Contemporary Scottish Poetry

By Matt McGuire; Colin Nicholson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER FIVE
A Democracy of Voices

Kirsten Matthews

This chapter offers a thematic survey of a number of poets whose work sits awkwardly alongside narrow or prescriptive expectations about what Scottish poets are and what they choose to write about. We begin with the work of Ron Butlin (1949–), Roddy Lumsden (1966–), Maud Sulter (1960–2008) and Elizabeth Burns (1957–), focusing on their interest in personal identity over more familiar designations of class, gender and ethnicity. Through the work of Tom Pow (1950–), Valerie Gillies (1948–) and Brian McCabe (1951–) we examine the way in which the local and familiar is rendered exotic by poetic imagination. The final section of this essay will introduce another much understudied area of Scottish writing and translation, and in doing so will consider the work of Donny O'Rourke (1959–), David Kinloch (1959–) and Alan Riach (1957–).

Over half of these writers have been affiliated, as academics, creative writing tutors or writers in residence, either to universities or to Scottish regional or city councils: Ron Butlin was Writer in Residence at both the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews; Tom Pow is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at Glasgow University's Crichton Campus; David Kinloch teaches Creative Writing at the University of Strathclyde; Alan Riach is Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University; and Brian McCabe is Writer in Residence at Edinburgh University. In many cases institutional support remains vital to the sustainability of contemporary Scottish poetry. Despite their affiliation within educational institutions of Scotland, this study concentrates on the way in which these writers deliberately eschew preoccupation with the national question in their poetry. The fact that they look to transcend national boundaries, to speak to a global audience, could be read as a crucial component of any successful work of art. This chapter examines their conscious efforts to expand the existing debate and to reset the parameters for the analysis and interpretation of contemporary Scottish poetry.

In Modern Scottish Poetry (2004), Christopher Whyte comments: ‘[T]he national is not the only, or necessarily the primary totality, within which the lives of individuals, real or fictive, can be placed, in order to be endowed

-65-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Contemporary Scottish Poetry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 232

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?