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Introduction

Edwin Morgan’s correspondence is as wide-ranging as his poetry. Th e letters relate not only to current poems and translations but also to his ever-changing work in theatre, music, journalism, cultural politics and education. His literary correspondents were many and varied – here T.S. Eliot and Hugh MacDiarmid appear with W.S. Graham, Salvatore Quasimodo, Allen Ginsberg, Ted Hughes, Dom Sylvester Houédard, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Haroldo and Augusto de Campos, Eugen Gomringer, Alastair Gray, Laura (Riding) Jackson and more. Th ere is helpful and long-term contact too with signifi cant fi gures in the younger generation of poets, such as Veronica Forrest-Th omson, Tom Leonard and Richard Price. Th ere are kindly letters to his readers of all ages, as well as sharper ones to publishers and editors from the 1950s onwards. And these letters take many forms, from verse epistles to newspaper correspondence, from editorial strictures to academic gossip, from calligraphy and postcards to email. How were we to pick and choose from such riches?

Th is book emerged from Morgan’s own collection of letters, so in a sense the fi rst selection was his. From the start, he seems to have kept most original communications and many of his own carbon- and, later, photocopied replies. He retained for the record much that a weaker personality might have concealed. Like his poetry, the letters reveal a determination to witness to the fullest range of human experience. From the late 1980s onwards, folders of this correspondence were sent in tranches with other material to the Department of Special Collections in the Library of the University of Glasgow. He had been a student there in the 1930s and lectured in English Literature

Introduction 1

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