William Soutar

(1898-1943 / Scotland)

William Soutar
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William Soutar was a Scottish poet, born 1898. He served in the navy in World War I, and afterwards studied at the University of Edinburgh, where he encountered the work of Hugh MacDiarmid. This led to a radical alteration in his work, and he became a leading poet of the Scottish Literary Renaissance and 'one of the greatest poets Scotland has produced'. In 1924, he was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. From 1930 he was bedridden. He died of tuberculosis in 1943. His journal, Diary of a Dying Man, was published posthumously and is considered to 'put him into the rank of the great diarists'

One form of verse which he used was the cinquain (now known as American cinquain),these... more »

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Best Poem of William Soutar


Soutar was famous for his riddles as well as his poetry (and some combinations of the two)

Here are six. Best of Luck.

Spindle-shank gangs owre the flair
Wi’ his ae leg in the air:
Shaks his pow outside the door
Whan his hair is fou o’ stour.

Airms oot and legs oot
It wudna hurt a hair:
But whan it draws itsel’ thegither
Lat a’body tak care.

Aye at his meat was monie-feet
Or he cud eat nae mair;
Syne wuppit in a windin’ sheet
Likes he was for the lair.

Death thocht an unco thocht nae doot
Whan, wi’ the simmer ...

Read the full of Riddles

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