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Thomas (Tom) Scott


1918 - 1995

Poet and translator of verse. Born in Partick (Glasgow), the son of a boilermaker in a shipyard, Scott moved with his family to St. Andrews when his father lost his job following the Great Depression and was educated there at Madras College. He left school at fifteen and served in the Army Pay Corps during the Second World War. His early poems were in English - he published his first Sea Dirge in 1941, but later he turned to writing in Scots. After some years in London, he returned to Scotland to study at Newbattle Abbey College, under the guidance of Edwin Muir (1887 - 1959) and used the qualifications gained there to enter the University of Edinburgh gaining a first-class honours degree in English and then a doctorate on the poet William Dunbar (c.1460 - c.1530).

His works include An Ode til New Jerusalem (1956) and The Ship (1963) where the demise of the Titanic mirrors the economic and moral decline of Western civilisation, At the Shrine o the Unkent Sodger (1968), The Tree (1977) and The Dirty Business (1986). His works were often inspired by his nationalist, socialist and pacifist beliefs. He also edited The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse (1970) and produced critically-acclaimed translations of European poets such as Baudelaire, Dante, De Ronsard, Ungaretti and Villon.

He died in Edinburgh and is commemorated in Makars' Court, with a line from his partially-autobiographical long poem Brand the Builder (1975).


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