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Iain Crichton Smith (1928 - 1998)

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  • Iain Crichton Smith was born in Glasgow in 1928, but his father died of TB before he could know him, and his fiercely Calvinist mother took him back to her native Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. He grew up with his two brothers in the village of Bayble, where he spoke Gaelic, and not until he began school did English become necessary. He went to university in Aberdeen (it was the first time he had left the island) and after receiving his MA he joined the British Army Education Corps for his National Service. He then became a secondary school teacher in Clydebank, near Glasgow, and for twenty-two years at Oban High School. Much of his writing was done after work. His first book, The Long River (1955) was followed by The White Noon (1959), Thistles and Roses (1961), and the long poem, Deer on the High Hills (1962). Thereafter, collections in English or Gaelic appeared regularly, including several Selected editions, culminating in a Collected Poems in 1992 from Carcanet (Poetry Book Society Special Commendation) which was expanded and reissued as New Collected Poems in 2011.
    Praise for Iain Crichton Smith (1928 - 1998)  'Over the years [his] poetry has increased in strangeness and beauty. He is a poet of his own discontents, but one who has submitted his unrest to the demands of the imagination.'
    Times Literary Supplement
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