Be Part of a Poem

Published on: Author: Eleanor Leave a comment

A staff post by Eleanor Capaldi, LGBTQ+ Project Assistant at The Hunterian.

We are celebrating the centenary of Scotland’s first Makar, Edwin Morgan, and would like you to be a part of it.

A prolific poet, Morgan had a long connection with the University of Glasgow, as both student and lecturer. As well as being a writer he held an appreciation for art, collecting, amongst others, portraits and landscapes by the well kent names of Scottish art including Joan Eardley and John Byrne. Morgan donated his collection to The Hunterian in 2004. A selection of the artworks that he displayed on his flat walls form the content of our online exhibition, Edwin Morgan: An Eardley On My Wall.

That’s where you, valued visitor, come in! We would like to offer you the opportunity to submit your own written responses to these artworks to create a crowdsourced poem. Any and all types of response are welcome: first impressions, stirred emotions, prompted memories, wild interpretations, contemplative reflections, elated expressions. You can send us a sentence, a paragraph, a few words (even just a word! Morgan – a fan of the ‘one-word poem’ – would approve). Once we’ve gathered your contributions, our resident poet, Calum Rodger, will craft this crowdsourced poem bringing all of your voices together in celebration of Morgan’s unique collection, as well as his continuing legacy in fostering inclusive and forward-looking communities through the love of art and poetry.  

How to Submit

Visit the online exhibition for inspiration!

Gather your word/s and submit via Twitter, accompanied by the hashtag 
#MorganPoetryClub @hunterian  

Or you can submit by email:

Entries open on 27 April 2020 and close on 29 May 2020. 

More on Morgan 

As arguably the most significant Scottish poet of the last century, Edwin Morgan’s poetry has long delighted and enlightened readers both here in Scotland and across the globe. The poet’s omnivorous appetite for new forms of experience and expression shines through all of his work whether in his translations, ranging from the Old English Beowulf to avant-garde Russian poetry, in his letters, lectures and critical writings, or of course in his poetry: chameleonically playful and experimental, yet always wedded to an irrepressible enthusiasm for the stuff of life, and a deep sense of hope and optimism for our shared human endeavours. In his life too, as educator, as innovator, as tireless promoter of others’ work, and as a gay man in the hostile environment of twentieth-century Scotland, Morgan’s example continues to be a beacon to all those who share in his progressive, humanist vision for Scotland and the world. 

Most of us are familiar with Morgan the poet, the translator, the activist – and perhaps even of Morgan the professor, the letter-writer, the collagist – less well-known, however, is Morgan the art-collector. Among the collections at The Hunterian is the poet’s own personal art collection, a truly remarkable selection of works that present an idiosyncratic history both of Morgan’s tastes and fascinations, and of visual art in Scotland and the world in the second half of the twentieth century. 

Calum Rodger Biography

Calum Rodger is a Glasgow-based poet, critic and performer. His publications include PORTS (SPAM Press: 2019), Glasgow Flourishes (Tapsalteerie: 2014) and, as editor, Makar/Unmakar: Twelve Contemporary Poets in Scotland (Tapsalteerie: 2019). As performer, he was crowned Scottish National Slam Champion in 2019, going on to represent Scotland at the Poetry World Cup in Paris where he placed a not unrespectable sixth. He holds a PhD in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow, is Co-Director of the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School (SUISS) at the University of Edinburgh, where he lectures on Morgan’s poetry, and is among the editorial team of Scotland’s premier literary magazine Gutter. 

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