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Annual Volume 46 (2016)


An anthology of Scots poetry
from the first and second waves
of the Scottish Renaissance

Compiled and annotated by
J. Derrick McClure

Published in: Hardback, 256 pages
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Glasgow, 2017
Price: £14.95
ISBN 9781906841294

The twentieth-century Scottish Renaissance saw a sudden and dramatic change in Scotland’s literary landscape. Beginning in the 1920s, Scottish writers increasingly engaged with contemporary social and political issues, and with questions of national identity. An integral part of this development was the radically new literary status accorded to the Scots language.

MacDiarmid’s immediate predecessors had introduced modern themes and linguistic experimentation to Scots poetry; and though MacDiarmid is the unquestioned central figure in the great poetic revival, he rode a rising tide. He and the poets who paved the way for him represent the first wave of the Scottish Renaissance. The second wave contains the extraordinary company of poets who wrote under his direct inspiration.

On any showing, the scale and quality of this movement is a phenomenon rarely paralleled in literary history. A Kist o Skinklan Things contains a selection of the best work from this great period.


J. Derrick McClure recently retired after forty years of teaching in the English department of Aberdeen University. He has written four books and over a hundred articles and conference papers on Scottish literary and linguistic topics, including many on Scots as a language of translation.



Pittendrigh MacGillivray (1856–1938)
   Mercy o’ Gode
Lewis Spence (1874–1955)
   The Wee May o’ Caledon
   The Unicorn
   The Lost Lyon
Sir Alexander Gray (1882–1968)
   Babylon in Retrospect
   December Gloaming
   The Wanderer
Helen Cruickshank (1886–1975)
   The Ponnage Puil
   A Lang Guidnicht
   Corstorphine Woods
   Epistle for C. M. Greive
   Sea Buckthorn
Bessie MacArthur (1889–1983)
   Bethink Ye What Will Come o’t?
   Nocht o’ Mortal Sicht
Hugh MacDiarmid (1892–1978)
   The Sauchs in the Reuch Heuch Hauch
   To the Music of the Pipes
   The Parrot Cry
   Lourd on my Hert
   To Alasdair Mac Mhaighistir Alasdair
   Old Wife in High Spirits
Nan Shepherd (1893–1981)
   Caul’, caul’ as the wall
William Jeffrey (1896–1946)
   George Bannatyne (1545–1608)
   Allars of Heaven
   The Refugees
   Sea Glimmer
William Soutar (1898–1943)
   The Makar
   The Thistle Looks at a Drunk Man
   The Auld House
   Hal o the Wynd
Albert Mackie (1904–1985)
   Sea Strain
   Thunder Sky
   To Hugh M’Diarmid
Robert McLellan (1907–1985)
   Nicht Watch
   The Lanely Fisher
J. K. Annand (1908–1993)
   Arctic Convoy
   Vivat Glenlivat
Alex Galloway (1908–1998)
   The Labourers
Robert Garioch (1909–1981)
   “…That is Stade in Perplexite…”
   Garioch’s Repone til George Buchanan
   The Bog
   Weill-Met in Buchan
   And They Were Richt
   Scottish Scene
John Kincaid (1909–1981)
   Til our Reid Intelligentsia
   A Glesca Rhapsodie
Olive Fraser (1909–1977)
   Benighted in the Foothills of the Cairngorms: January
   A Gossip Silenced: The Thrush and the Eagle
   All Sawles Eve
T. S. Law (1916–1997)
   Cauld Comfort
   Miners’ Melodie
   A Hauf a Croon o Devolutioun
   The Free Nation
Douglas Young (1913–1973)
   For Alasdair
   Ice-Flumes Owregie their Lades
   Sabbath i the Mearns
   Hielant Colloguy
George Campbell Hay (1915–1984)
   A Ballad in Answer to Servius Sulpicius Rufus
   Lomsgrios na Tìre
   Oor Jock
   Scots Arcadia
   Tìr Thàirngire
Sydney Goodsir Smith (1915–1975)
   In Gránada, in Gránada
   King and Queen o the Fowr Airts
   The Grace of God and the Meth-Drinker
   A Bairn Seick
Edward Boyd (1916–1989)
   The Niddity-Noddin’ Chesbow
Maurice Lindsay (1918–2009)
   At the Cowal Games, Dunoon
   On Hearin a Merle Singan
Tom Scott (1918–1995)
   Ceòl Mòr
   Brand the Builder
   Villanelle De Noël
   La Condition Humaine
William J. Tait (1918–1992)
   Change o the Muin
   The Seal-Wife
Thurso Berwick (1919–1981)
   Whit Wey’s the Road?
   Brig o Giants
   Til the Citie o John MacLean
   Scots Wha Hae
Hamish Henderson (1919–2002)
   Billet Doux
   The Flytin o Life an Daith
   Goettingen Nicht
   Epistle to Mary
   To Stuart – on his Leaving for Jamaica
Alexander Scott (1920–1989)
   The Gallus Makar
   Haar in Princes Street
   Mouth Music
   Dear Deid Dancer
   Grace Ungraced
William Neill (1922–2010)
   Kailyard and After
   A Lament for Alba Moroon
   Drumbarchan Mains
   The Flyting of Jamie and Seumas – A Linguistic Problem
David Purves (1924–2014)
   Hard Wumman
Alastair Mackie (1925–1995)
   The Shepherd
   On Brinkie’s Brae
   Weet Kin
   Châteaux en Écosse
   In Memoriam Hugh MacDiarmid
Eric Gold (b. 1927)
   Scottish Spearman Afore Flodden
   Dunbar’s Maen
George Todd (1927–2009)
   Weeda’s Sang
Duncan Glen (1933–2008)
   The Heid o Hecht
   My Faither
George Hardie (b. 1933)
   Lanarkshire Landscape
Ellie McDonald (b. 1937)
   For Hamish Henderson on his 80th Birthday
Donald Campbell (b. 1940)
   A Lang Sleep Ower
   Arthur’s Seat
   Thon Nicht
   Cougait Revisited
Kenneth Fraser (b. 1944)
   The Things frae Inner Space
Kate Armstrong (b. 1944)
   Pantoum fer Winter
   This is the Laun
Daibhidh Mitchell (n.d.)
   For My Host
   Mod & Gammon
John Samuel (n.d.)
Notes on the poets and poems


Cover design: Mark Blackadder.

Last updated 24 May 2017.