Leading figures remember national poet Edwin Morgan
- 26 August 2010
- From the section Glasgow & West Scotland
Leading figures from the arts and politics have attended the funeral of Scots Makar, Edwin Morgan, who died last week aged 90.
First Minister Alex Salmond, novelist James Kelman and playwright Liz Lochhead were present at the service in Glasgow University's Bute Hall.
Glasgow-born Morgan was Professor of English at the university from 1975 until he retired in 1980.
He became the Scotland's first national poet - or Scots Makar - in 2004.
Several hundred people attended the humanist service on Thursday to celebrate Morgan's life.
Delivering the eulogy, Dr George Reid, former presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, said that he "expanded the frontiers of Scottish poetry".
He said: "We honour a world-class poet who was one of our own. A master of versatility and variety in verse.
"A poet of this parish who was universal in his outreach. A whittrick of a writer who could start in a tenement close and take this city and country off on an intergalactic voyage.
"A great humanist Scot who, despite all the pyrotechnics of his poetry, always wanted to explore existence and what it means to be alive. Nothing was beyond Eddie's frontiers."
Dr Reid touched on the time Morgan spent as an academic at Glasgow University, where he was "extremely popular" with students and "liberated lives".
He also described how Morgan publicly announced that he was gay "as a 70th birthday present to himself" and approached life with vigour.
He said that the poet was always interested in the future, particularly in spacecraft, and was one of the first people to put his name down for a journey to the moon.
Morgan, who was educated at Rutherglen Academy followed by Glasgow High School, began his studies at Glasgow University in 1937.
At the outbreak of World War II he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps before returning to the university in 1946.
He was appointed the inaugural Poet Laureate for Glasgow in 1999 and Scotland's first national poet by the Scottish Parliament in 2004.
Morgan was awarded an OBE in 1982 and was winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2000.
He penned more than 60 poetry books and was the last remaining member of the "Big Seven" poets of Hugh MacDiarmid, Robert Garioch, Norman MacCaig, Iain Crichton Smith, George Mackay Brown and Sorley MacLean.