William Soutar

(1898-1943 / Scotland)

Biography of William Soutar

William Soutar poet

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 he labelled epigrams. He took up this form in the second half of the 1930s with such enthusiasm that he became an even more prolific practitioner than Adelaide Crapsey had been.

William Soutar's Works:

* Brief Words..one hundred epigrams The Moray Press, Edinburgh & London 1935
* Diaries of a Dying Man Canongate Press, Edinburgh 1954 ISBN 0-86241-347-8
* Gleanings by an Undergraduate Alexander Gardner, Paisley 1923
* Seeds in the Wind, Poems in Scots for Children Andrew Dakers, London 1943

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Out of the darkness of the womb
Into a bed, into a room:
Out of a garden into a town,
And to a country, and up and down
The earth; the touch of women and men
And back into a garden again:
Into a garden; into a room;
Into a bed and into a tomb;
And the darkness of the world's womb.

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