BIOGRAPHY – HUGH MACDIARMID Wednesday, 6 January 2010Posted by edincityoflit in Poets.
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Hugh MacDiarmid (Christopher Murray Grieve) was born in Langholm, 1892; died in Biggar, 1978. He worked as a journalist in Scotland and Wales, serving in the RAMC during the First World War. He adopted the literary name ‘Hugh MacDiarmid’, and the writing career that he himself described as ‘volcanic activity’ got underway in the 1920s. His output in poetry and prose was prodigious and always controversial. He wrote poems in Scots, mixing the literary with the vernacular.
A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926) is the most ambitious expression of his critical nationalism and fervent internationalism. MacDiarmid galvanised the Scottish Renaissance movement. A member of the Communist Party and a founding member of the National Party of Scotland, he was expelled from and rejoined both. His later philosophical poetry (in English) shows his vigorous intellect and engagement with science.
MacDiarmid is recognised as the towering Scottish literary figure of the twentieth century.